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Films | Flexibles | Bags Figure 2: Evolution of biodegradation of New BM developed compound under controlled composting conditions (ISO 14855). Biodegradation (%) 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 30 20 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Time (Days) Industrial compostability of nets (EN 13432) Figure 3: Evolution of disintegration of Ecobionet net during composting (ISO 16929). 1 week composting 2 week composting The European standard 13432 stipulates 4 requirements that all need to be fulfilled in order to call a packaging product compostable under industrial processes: 1) Chemical composition (volatile solids content, heavy metals and fluorine) 2) Biodegradation 3) Disintegration 4) Compost quality, including plant toxicity testing The ECOBIONET nets demonstrated to fulfill these criteria. The requirements on chemical composition were easily reached with a volatile solids content of more than 95% on total solids and heavy metals and fluorine concentration well below the stipulated limit levels. Biodegradation, which is the breakdown of the organic compound by micro-organisms to carbon dioxide, water, and mineral salts and biomass, is often the most difficult hurdle to pass. The developed compounds showed complete biodegradation under controlled composting conditions (ISO 14855) with a relative biodegradation, with cellulose as the suitable reference substrate, above 90% within the prescribed maximum duration of 180 days. Figure 2 shows the evaluation in biodegradation of new BM developed compound. During composting a material must physically fall apart into fragments in order to not visually disturb the compost outlook. The disintegration is strongly influenced by the thickness. The nets developed showed a thread thickness around 0.3 mm and did easily pass the 90% disintegration requirement in a 12 weeks pilot-scale composting test according to ISO 16929. Figure 3 gives an example of the disintegration rate of one of the developed nets. Already after 4 weeks of composting the nets were almost completely disappeared. The disintegration proceeded and no test material could be retrieved at the end of the composting process. Moreover also no negative effect on the composting process and on compost quality, including plant toxicity was observed for the developed compound. Based on these results several net types were certified according to EN 13432 and are allowed to bear the seedling logo, which is the registered trademark of European Bioplastics. 4 week composting At start 14 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/13] Vol. 8

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