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End-of-Life Other

End-of-Life Other Standards ISO 17088 - Specifications for Compostable Plastics ISO has drawn up a standard which specifies the procedures and requirements for identifying and marking plastics and plastic products suitable for recovery by aerobic composting. In a similar way to EN 13432, it deals with four aspects: a) biodegradation; b) disintegration during composting; c) negative effects on composting; d) negative effects on the resulting compost quality, including the presence of metals and other compounds subject to restrictions or dangers. It is important to note that the standard makes explicit reference to the European Packaging Directive in the event of application in Europe: “The labelling will, in addition, have to conform to all international, regional, national or local regulations (e.g. European Directive 94/62/EC)”. ASTM D6400 - Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics ASTM D 6400 produced by ASTM International was the first standard to determine whether plastics can be composted satisfactorily and biodegrade at a speed comparable to known compostable materials. ASTM D6400 is similar to EN 13432 but: (1) the limit of biodegradation which is otherwise 90% is reduced to 60% for homopolymers and copolymers with random distribution of monomers (2) test duration, which is set at 180 days, is extended to 365 days if the test is conducted with radioactive material in order to measure the evolution of radioactive CO 2 . EN 14995 Plastic materials - Assessment of compostability - Test and specification system It is complementary to EN 13432. Indeed, EN 13432 specifies the characteristics of packaging that can be recycled through organic recovery and therefore excludes compostable plastic materials not used as packaging (e.g. compostable cutlery, compostable bags for waste collection). EN 14995 filled this gap. From a technical perspective EN 14995 is equivalent to EN 13432. This is the short version of a much more comprehensive article, which can be downloaded from Conclusuons The first plastics to be sold in Italy under the term ‘biodegradable’, at the end of the 1980s, were made from polyethylene to which small amounts of biodegradable substances (ca. 5% starch) or ‘pro-oxidants’ had been added. These products were most widespread during the period in which a 100 lira tax was levied on carrier bags made from non-biodegradable plastic (minimum biodegradation: 90%). To avoid the tax, many plastic bag producers switched to ‘biodegradable’ plastics. The lack of standardised definitions and measuring methods gave rise to a situation of anarchy. The market for these biodegradable plastic bags immediately dried up when, having clarified the real nature of the materials on sale, the tax was extended to all plastic bags, thereby bringing an end to an unsuccessful project. In this case the government had anticipated a future period of technical and scientific progress and standardisation. Nowadays the situation is different. We now have a clear legal framework, standard test methods and criteria for the unambiguous definition of biodegradability and compostability. The complete, and above all enduring, commercial development of new applications, such as biodegradable plastics, depends on guaranteed levels of quality and transparency. Standardisation activities are therefore of fundamental importance in the field of technological innovation. [1] guidepublic_en.pdf 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/11] Vol. 6

Polylactic Acid Uhde Inventa-Fischer has expanded its product portfolio to include the innovative stateof-the-art PLAneo ® process. The feedstock for our PLA process is lactic acid, which can be produced from local agricultural products containing starch or sugar. The application range of PLA is similar to that of polymers based on fossil resources as its physical properties can be tailored to meet packaging, textile and other requirements. Think. Invest. Earn. Uhde Inventa-Fischer GmbH Holzhauser Strasse 157–159 13509 Berlin Germany Tel. +49 30 43 567 5 Fax +49 30 43 567 699 Uhde Inventa-Fischer AG Via Innovativa 31 7013 Domat/Ems Switzerland Tel. +41 81 632 63 11 Fax +41 81 632 74 03 Uhde Inventa-Fischer

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