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BASF biodegradable plastic passed the test under real-world conditions

November 15/2011

(BASF) -- BASF compostable plastic Ecovio FS biodegrades within four weeks in an industrial composting plant. Bin liners made from Ecovio FS are strong and tear-resistant, even if the waste inside is wet. Liquid from tea bags or fruit leftovers does not seep through reducing unpleasant odours and putting an end to laborious bin-scrubbing. Once full, the bag can simply be put out for collection with its contents.

 
The plastics properties first underwent extensive investigation in pilot projects at composting plants in Germany, Canada and Australia. But would the new compost bags pass the test when used on a large scale? To find out, BASF and its project partners examined the bags under real-world conditions. The study took place in Bad Durkheim in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, from April to June 2011. Around 65,000 households each received ten Ecovio FS bio-waste bags free of charge, and could buy more if needed. Consultancy IBK-Solutions GmbH was responsible for analyzing the compost. The results were very positive, says Erhard Freunscht, the Bad Durkheim council member responsible for waste management. Residents  really took to the new bin liners, as was clear from the number of bags put out for collection. And after around three weeks, the bags had biodegraded a complete success from our point of view.

 
The key to Ecovio FSs outstanding compostability lies in its composition. The material comprises a partly petroleum-based, compostable plastic called Ecoflex FS, and polylactic acid made from corn starch. Polylactic acid, which is derived solely from renewable raw materials, tends to be brittle in its pure state. But when combined with Ecoflex, a flexible plastic is created that can be used to manufacture a variety of products, including bin liners. In the controlled conditions of an industrial composting plant high temperature and humidity, defined oxygen levels microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria break the plastic down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. In other words, they transform the bag and the bio-waste into valuable compost.
 

Perspectives of development of polymer markets, pricing issues and other important aspects will be discussed at The Polymers Summit-2011, which will be held in Moscow on November 30, 2011 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. The Summit will be organized by MRC with the support of ICIS. The main idea of the Summit is to find a "the golden mean" between producers and converters. When producers receive exactly such margin of production, which helps them to invest in production expansion in order to substitute polymers imports, and the converters receive such price of feedstock that helps them to compete imported finished products. The Summit site gives an access to the live video of the Summit, speakers" presentations, as well as opportunities to ask questions or make appointments to any Summit partcipant.


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