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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_0905

Basics accumulation of

Basics accumulation of persistent substances in the environment. Through the impact of wind or precipitation the plastic fragments can drift into aquatic or marine habitat where they affect organisms and pose the risk of bioaccumulation. In addition, studies, amongst others by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have shown that degraded plastics can accumulate toxic chemicals such as PCB, DDE and others from the environment and act as transport medium in marine environments [4]. Such persistant organic pollutants in the marine environment were found to have negative effects on marine resources [5]. Organic Recovery Is Not Feasible Collection and recovery schemes for organic waste are liable to suffer from the use of oxo-fragmentable materials, as these materials are reported not to meet the requirements of organic recovery [6]. Unfortunately, sometimes the oxo-fragmentable products have been publicised as ‘biodegradable‘ and ‘compostable‘, despite not meeting the standards of suitability for organic recovery. Besides, the terms oxo-biodegradable, oxo-degradable and the like can be taken by the consumers as synonym of ‘biodegradable and compostable‘ and erroneously recovered via organic recovery. (...) Therefore, well-developed and broadly accepted certification schemes according to EN 13432, EN 14995 or equivalent standards should be used invariably. This is also why, in the interest of the best recovery of organic fractions and biowaste, the involvement of ‘oxo-fragmentable’ materials in such recovery schemes should be avoided. Plastic Recycling Schemes Are Disturbed A further environmentally feasible option for the handling of used plastics is that of recycling. Oxo-fragmentable products can hamper recycling of post consumer plastics. In practice, the ‚oxo-biodegradable‘ plastics are traditional plastics. The only difference is that they incorporate additives which affect their chemical stability. Thus, they are identified and classified according to their chemical structure and finish together with the other plastic waste in the recycling streams. In this way, they bring their degradation additives to the recyclate feedstock. As a consequence the recyclates may be destabilised, which will hinder acceptance and lead to reduced value. The European Plastics Recyclers Association (EuPR) and the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) therefore warn against oxo-degradable additives [7, 8]. www.european-bioplastics.org References [1] Federal Trade Commission Announces Actions Against Kmart, Tender and Dyna- E Alleging Deceptive ‚Biodegradable‘ Claims. www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/06/kmart. shtm. Accessed on June 19, 2009 [2] Narayan, Ramani, Biodegradability - Sorting Facts and Claims, in bioplastics magazine, 01/2009, pp 29. [3] Koutny et al. (2006) [4] Moore C. (2008). Synthetic polymers in the marine environment: A rapidly increasing, long-term threat. Environmental Research 108(2), pp. 131-139 [5] Yuki Mato et.al. (2001), Plastic Resin pallets as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the Marine Environment, Environmental Science and Technology, 35(2), pp. 318-324 . [6] California State University, Chico Research Foundation (2008). Performance Evaluation of Environmentally Degradable Plastic Packaging and Disposable Food Service Ware – Final Report. www.ciwmb. ca.gov/Publications. Publication Date: November, 8, 2008. Accessed on June 19, 2009 [7] Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the National Association for Plastic Container Resources (NAPCOR) express concerns about degradable additives. www. plasticsrecycling.org/article.asp?id=50. Publication Date: February 12, 2009. Accessed on June 19, 2009 [8] European Plastics Recyclers, OXO degradables incompatibility with plastics recycling. www.plasticsrecyclers.eu/ press. Publication Date: June 10, 2009. Accessed on June 19, 2009 40 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/09] Vol. 4

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