Protecting the environment with oxo-
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Got a question about oxo-
FAQ ABOUT OXO-
(See also http://www.biodeg.org/The%20Relevance%20of%20Biodegradable%20Plastic%20-
Why do we need oxo-
Because thousands of tons of plastic waste are entering the world’s environment every day, and will remain there for decades. In no country is it possible to collect all the plastic for recycling or other forms of responsible disposal.
How does it work?
A very small amount of pro-
There are some scientists who are not expert in oxo-
Furthermore, ten governments in the world have examined this technology very carefully and realised that oxo-
The process continues until the material has biodegraded to nothing more than CO2, water, and humus. It does not leave fragments of petro-
What does it cost?
Very little, because the additive represents only 1% of the polymer, and because the products can be made with the same machines and workforce as ordinary plastic.
Won’t it put existing factories out of business, with loss of jobs?
No, because commercial customers can still use the factories which supply them with ordinary plastic products.
What types of biodegradable plastics exist?
The two main types are oxo-
What are the differences between oxo-
Surely education is the way to solve the litter problem?
Hopefully education will reduce the litter problem over several generations, but there is a huge amount of plastic litter today and there will always be some litter. Action needs to be taken today to switch to oxo-
Isn’t it better to recycle than to let it biodegrade?
Yes, and one of the benefits of oxo-
What about energy recovery?
In some countries incineration is popular, and modern equipment is in place. Oxo-
Can it be composted?
What happens to it in a landfill?
By contrast, hydro-
Does oxobio plastic contain “heavy metals”?
No. It contains metal salts, which are trace elements required in the human diet. They should not be confused with toxic heavy metals such as Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Chromium, which are never used in oxo-
Isn’t it made from oil?
Until other fuels and lubricants have been developed for engines, it makes good environmental sense to use the by-
Recently, interest has been shown, especially in Brazil, in manufacturing sugar-
But aren’t the hydro-
Fossil fuels are burned and CO2 is emitted by the machines which clear and cultivate the land, and in the manufacture and transport of fertilisers and pesticides and in transporting the crop itself. Energy is also used by the autoclaves which polymerise material synthesised from biochemically produced intermediates (e.g. polylactic acid from carbohydrates etc). When the material biodegrades it emits CO2 and can emit methane, so the total fossil fuels used and greenhouse gases emitted will be more than for conventional or oxo-
In June 2009 Germany’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Research concluded that oil-
Does oxobio plastic leave any harmful residues?
Deliberately and totally lost?
The argument that oxo-
In any event, oxo-
By contrast, hydro-
More Careless disposal?
Degradable plastic bags have been supplied by supermarkets for more than ten years, but there is no evidence that people dispose more carelessly of them (whether oxo or hydro biodegradable) and they have not been encouraged to do so. The type of person who causes litter will not bother to look for a biodegradable label before tossing it out of a car window.
But suppose for the sake of argument that 10% more were discarded. If 1,000 conventional and 1,100 oxo-
As there will always be people who will deliberately or accidentally discard their plastic waste, what will happen to all the plastic waste that will not be recycled or will not be incinerated, and instead will litter the countryside -
Is it safe for food-
Yes (except in California). A court in the US court ruled in February 2015 that it is not necessary to prove complete biodegradation, nor within any particular timescale.
On 8th April 2010 the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa ruled that bread bags made with oxo-
The current EU Standard for composting (EN13432) is not appropriate for testing oxo-
Isn’t it better to use paper bags?
No. The process of making paper bags causes 70% more atmospheric pollution than plastic bags. Paper bags use 300% more energy to produce, and the process uses huge amounts of water and creates very unpleasant organic waste. When they degrade they emit methane and carbon dioxide.
A stack of 1000 new plastic carrier bags would be around 2 inches high, but a stack of 1000 new paper grocery bags could be around 2 feet high. It would take at least seven times the number of trucks to deliver the same number of bags, creating seven times more transport pollution and road congestion.
Also, because paper bags are not as strong as plastic, people may use two or three bags inside each other. Paper bags cannot normally be re-
Isn’t it better to use durable re-
Shoppers do not always go to the shop from home, where the re-
However, for those who believe in long-
How long does it take to degrade?
An important advantage of oxo-
What products are available in oxo-
Carrier bags or “shopper-
Refuse sacks, which consumers buy in rolls at the shop, and use for disposal of their ordinary household waste.
Aprons, for the protection of garments, in the home, hospitals, restaurants, workshops etc.
Bags to contain dog faeces collected in parks, gardens, etc
Plastic sheeting for a variety of applications in agriculture and horticulture.
Plastic film for wrapping newspapers and magazines.
Frozen food bags
Wrappers for cigarette packets
Rigid products such as bottles and cups
More products will become available in due course.
What national or international standards exist?
The French Standards organisation, AFNOR, has also published XP T 54-
European standard EN 13432 applies only to plastic packaging, and was written before oxo-
Another unsatisfactory feature of EN 13432 is that it requires almost complete conversion of the carbon in the plastic to CO2, thus depriving the resulting compost of carbon, which is needed for plant growth, and wasting it by emission to atmosphere.
Conversion of organic materials to CO2 at a rapid rate during the composting process is not “recovery” as required by the European Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/EC as amended), and should not be part of a standard for composting. Nature’s lignocellulosic wastes do not behave in this way, and if they did the products would have little value as soil improvers and fertilisers, having lost most of their carbon.
If a leaf were subjected to the CO2 emission tests included in EN13432 it would not be considered biodegradable or compostable!
Packaging made from oxo-