Protecting the environment with oxo-
IN THE ENVIRONMENT
THE EUROPEAN UNION – THE FACTS
Eunomia Consultants were appointed by the European Commission to report on oxo-
Eunomia continued “The debate around the biodegradability of [OBP] plastic is not finalised, but should move forward from the assertion that it merely fragments, towards confirming whether the timeframes observed for total biodegradation are acceptable from an environmental point of view and whether this is likely to take place in natural environments.” We agree, and have assisted the Commission to answer these questions.
There is no longer any justification for anyone to confuse the public by referring to OBP as “oxo-
OBP items can be programmed to degrade according to whatever timescale is required. They are (like all other plastic items) designed to have a service-
The Natural Environment
The very many laboratory tests on OBP over the past three decades have not been done for the amusement of scientists – they have been done to replicate the performance of OBP in the natural environment. Ageing techniques in the laboratory, and the temperatures used, have been developed and are well understood so as to produce the same mechanisms and products of degradation as are observed in natural ageing. In addition, OBP has been tested many times for degradation in real time in seawater, most recently at Bandol in France. The residue of the material was sent to Queen Mary University London who observed it being used as a food-
Some of the scientific work has been commissioned by stakeholders in the oxo-
ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION REPORT
A report has been published under the auspices of the Ellen McArthur Foundation, which bears the logos of a number of companies and organisations. Many of these are aggressively promoting a rival technology, and others are themselves producers of most of the plastic articles which are found in the environment. The MacArthur Foundation have not declared the amounts of money which they received from those companies and organisations.
A draft of the MacArthur report was submitted by its authors to Prof. Ignacy Jakubowicz, one of the world’s leading polymer scientists, who said that it did not accord with his understanding nor the science in this field. http://www.biodeg.org/Reply%20to%20Ellen%20MacArthur%20Foundation%20from%20Prof%20Ignacy%20Jakubowicz%20-
He also explained to them that “The degradation process is not only a fragmentation, but is an entire change of the material from a high molecular weight polymer, to monomeric and oligomeric fragments, and from hydrocarbon molecules to oxygen-
The rival technology is called “bio-
OBP and other oil-
In 2014 The French Federation of Commerce & Distribution described the law introduced by Ségolène Royal, forcing shops to change to paper or bioplastic bags, as “Une mesure dangereuse, inefficace et coûteuse pour les Français” and said that it represents an additional cost of 300 million euros and would lead to higher food prices -
This MacArthur report is ultimately counter-
We wrote to Dame Ellen MacArthur herself on 13th March 2017 but have never received a reply. She is not a polymer scientist and it seems that she is being misled. We have now given her an open invitation to meet with us at a time and place of her choice, but have received no reply.
This MacArthur report is the latest in a series of commercially-
With regard to companies whose packaging is responsible for much of the plastic waste in the environment, they all say that they support redesign, re-
OBP is mandatory in several countries because their governments know that it is not possible to collect all the plastic waste and they need to ensure that if it does escape into their open environment, it will not remain there for decades. Less plastic accumulating on land means less plastic in the world’s oceans – this is crucial because 80% of the plastic waste in the oceans is estimated to have been carried into the ocean from the land.
One might have expected the MacArthur Foundation to have more respect for the technical experts in those countries who have carried out a detailed evaluation of the suppliers of the additives and of the science and technology, over several years.
The report also talks about microplastics, which are indeed a big concern. However, most of the micro-
According to the recycling charity RECOUP (“Recyclability by Design” 2006) “In cases where plastic products are particularly lightweight and contaminated with other materials, the energy and resources used in a recycling process may be more than those required producing new plastics. In such cases recycling may not be the most environmentally sound option.” These are the very products in which OBP technology is commonly used and they are not plastics in high-
Members of the Oxo-
These were “worst-
There have been several stories in the trade press recently about recyclate from Southern European countries causing defects and ruptures in new film. When you look a little closer it becomes clear that the defects were caused by substances used in the manufacture of “bio-
This is a problem that is likely to get worse, as governments in France, Italy, Spain and now Greece have been persuaded by the manufacturers of “bio-
Composting and Landfill
It is easy to attack a product by demonstrating that it will not do the things that it is not designed and supplied to do, andhe authors of the MacArthur report have attempted to do this in relation to composting and landfill. Although OBP has been shown to work well in industrial composting and will degrade in the upper layers of a landfill, these are not its primary purposes. Its primary purpose is to ensure that if the plastic finds its way into the open environment it will become biodegradable and return to nature much more quickly than conventional plastic. Perversely, OBP cannot comply with EN13432 for composting because it does not emit CO2 gas fast enough!
OBP is an upgrade to ordinary plastic, and is manufactured to comply with the American Standard ASTM D6954 (which has six pass/fail tests), the British Standard 8472, the French Accord T51-
This Association is therefore willing to perform this service for OBP on the same basis that Vinçotte (a private company) verifies products marketed as “compostable.” We have therefore written a Standard which will be submitted to the European Commission.