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Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 BIODEGRADATION PROCESS EcoWorks ® 1-800-4-CORTEC St. Paul, MN 55110 USA © Cortec Corporation 2006 70® 100% Biodegradable EcoWorks Replacement for Plastic and Polyethylene Up to 70% Bio-based With Annually Renewable Resources From thick rigid plastic cards to fl exible protective wrap, EcoWorks ® 70 by Cortec ® Research Chemists offers universal, biodegradable replacement to traditional plastic and polyethylene films. This patent pending breakthrough meets ASTM D6400 and DIN V 54 900. EcoWorks ® 70 does not contain polyethylene or starch but relies heavily on renewable, bio-based polyester from corn. 100% biodegradable, it turns into water and carbon dioxide in commercial composting. EcoWorks BioPlastic.indd 1 8/2/06 8:4 bioplastic study A worldwide comprehensive bioplastics study More than 40 plastics by 30 manufacturers Intensive material testing and data research Comparative presentation of the technical characteristics and processing properties of tested biodegradable materials Additional summary on the current international market situation for thermoplastic bio polymers In cooperation with the Institute for Recycling - Wolfsburg, Germany … is the new information and market platform for the bioplastics industry … provides an overview over current bioplastic news and events … offers comprehensive background information on the benefits of bioplastics … comprises an industry directory and market overview More information at

Opinion Bioplastics represent a new class of materials with advantageous origin mostly from renewable resources and with advantageous recovery qualities. Both, energy recovery (incineration with exploitation of energy) and composting (for qualified products) are environmentally benign methods and from a life cycle analysis (LCA) viewpoint, there seem to be no decisive differences. The ecological effects of the two alternatives are determined to a high extent by the available infrastructure. However, where the infrastructure is in place for both methods, a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of both recovery routes seems appropriate. Dr. Michael Heyde of Duales System Deutschland (DSD) and Joeran Reske of Interseroh and share their thoughts with our readers. Joeran Reske BioPlastics and Compostable Packaging ISD INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH Cologne, Germany About Interseroh: INTERSEROH is specialised in waste recovery logistics and supplies industry with approx. 6 million tonnes of secondary raw materials (steel, wood, paper, plastics). Interseroh operates the second dual system for the recovery of consumer packaging in Germany and works on an economically and environmentally sound recovery on behalf of the users of compostable packaging. Implementation is coordinated in close cooperation with municipalities and recovery plants. A precondition for these services is the certification of compostability, so that only qualified packaging enters the biowaste stream. German bio bin Pro composting Composting of products certified to EN 13432 or ASTM D 6400 represents a new recovery option for plastic products such as films, bags, catering supplies and food packaging e.g. for fruit & vegetables, dairy products, pastry etc. Bags for example in their ‘afterlife’ can be used for the collection of biowaste in the kitchen. It is rewarding to establish the biological recovery for the new product class: • Composting mimics the way in which nature steadily recycles material in the steps production/conversion - use - biodegradation – which can be described as a closed loop model. Composting satisfies this natural pattern, whereas incineration is only used very rarely by nature for the recovery of material (i.e. in a few habitats with a special ‘fire ecology’). When it comes to recovery, nature uses more than only the materials’ energy content. A clear hint, that incineration may not be the optimum choice. In addition, the energy which is received from incineration as the sole useful ‘product’ can be supplied by several other routes including biomass and solar based energy sources. Concerning the ecoefficiency of the various recovery options, anaerobic digestion seems anyway most effective, as it supplies valuable products (compost) and energy at the same time. • Composting is a ‘lean’ and technically straightforward recovery approach. The infrastructure is usually established at a local level with e.g. one composting plant per 100,000 inhabitants. Among other advantages, this saves emissions during the transport of waste and from the product: the compost is used nearby in agriculture, where it saves fertiliser (thus it saves energy) and contributes to soil fertility and plant health, leading to higher yields etc. This shows that it is important to reflect the whole system when judging the recovery routes. Countries with a considerable share of organic waste favour biological recycling, which additionally helps them to address the problem of soil depletion. Especially several countries in the southern hemisphere have started to implement corresponding structures. • Due to its low technical and logistical demand, composting is also a very cost effective recovery method when compared with incineration, which is usually performed in big plants with special exhaust gas purification etc. Thus it is no coincidence but rather common sense, that consumers - according to all surveys performed so far – clearly welcome the new approach and especially like the organic way of recovery. This is something they can understand and in the event that they have a compost pile in their garden, they can even try it themselves. So not only the quality of renewable origin, but also the compostability of such packaging represents a valuable asset towards customers. Conclusion: Even if energy recovery is also a benign method, composting is the more economical and nature-orientated approach. Since it can be used for a wide range of bioplastic applications e.g. in the bag & packaging sector, it will contribute to more sustainable waste management. 32 bioplastics [06/02] Vol. 1

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