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issue 04/2021

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Highlights: Toys Thermoforming Basics: Bio-Polypropylene

Automotive d-of-Life 10

Automotive d-of-Life 10 Years ago Requirements This is the short version of a much more comprehens article, which can be dow www.biopla End-of-Life ‘Biodegradable-compostable’ packaging must have the following characteristics: • Biodegradability, namely microbial conversion into CO 2 . Test method: ISO 14855. Minimum level: 90%. Duration: less than 6 months. This high CO 2 conversion level must not be taken as an indication that organic recycling is a sort of ‘cold incineration’ which therefore does not contribute to the formation of compost. Under real conditions the process would also produce substantially more biomass (compost). Another question: why 90% rather than 100%? Does this leave a residue of the remaining 10%? The answer is that experimental factors and the formation of biomass make it hard to reach 100% accurately; this is why the limit of acceptability was established at 90% rather than 100%. • Disintegratability, namely fragmentation and invisibility in the final compost. Test method: EN 14045/ ISO 16929. Samples of test materials are composted together with organic waste for 3 months. The mass of test material residue larger than 2 mm must be less than 10% of the initial mass. • Levels of heavy metals below pre-defined maximum limits and absence of negative effects on composting process and compost quality. Test method: a modified OECD 208 and other analytical tests. Each of these points is necessary for compostability, but individually they are not sufficient. Limits The Role of Standards for Biodegradable Plastics by Francesco Degli Innocenti Novamont S.p.A. S Novara, Italy ‘Home composting’ namely the treatment of grass cuttings and material from the pruning of plants, is out of the scope. Home composting takes place at low temperatures and may not always operate under optimal conditions. The characteristics defined by Standard EN 13432 do not ensure that packaging added to a home composter would compost satisfactorily and in line with the user’s expectations. All photos: Novamont 56 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16 Use Published in bioplastics MAGAZINE Other Standards ISO 17088 - Specific ations 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 Specific ation 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 specific ation system It is complementary to EN 13432. Indeed, EN 13432 specifi es 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 fi lled this gap. From a technical perspective EN 14995 is equivalent to EN 13432. Conclusions End-of-Life tandardisation plays a crucial role for bioplastics. Biodegradability, bio-based content, carbon-footprint etc. cannot be noted directly by consumers. However, the commercial success of these products rests precisely on claims of this kind. In order to guarantee market transparency, normative instruments are needed to link declarations, which are used as advertising messages, and the actual characteristics and benefits of the products. Standards are necessary to consumers, companies competing on the market, as well as public authorities. Standardisation is not science. In some debates these two sectors become dangerously confused. Science aims to find, describe, and correlate phenomena, independent of the time scale and their actual importance to daily life. Standardisation seeks to instil order and find technical solutions to specific practical problems with a social, political and scientific consensus. The question of biodegradability is complex and can give rise to significant debates. Key point is time scale. At academic level even traditional ‘non-biodegradable’ plastics can be shown to biodegrade, over a very long period of time. However, such biodegradation rates are clearly unsuited to the needs of society. Biodegradable materials are an attempt to find solutions to a problem of our society: waste. Waste is produced at a very high rate and therefore the disposal rate must be comparable, in order to avoid accumulation. Incineration is widely adopted precisely because it is a fast process. There would be no interest in a hypothetical ‘slow combustion’ incinerator because waste does not wait, and quickly builds up. The same principle applies to biodegradation, which must be fast in order to be useful. Standard EN 13432 has been fully applied in Europe also in the certification sector. It recently became of great importance in Italy with the entry into force of the ban on the sale of non-biodegradable carrier bags on 1 January 2011. Indeed, the law establishes the ban on bags that are not biodegradable according to criteria established by Community laws and technical rules approved at a Community level. The term ‘biodegradable’ has led to a number of debates owing to the clear commercial implications arising out of the interpretation of this term. It is true that from an academic perspective ‘biodegradability’ is a different concept from ‘compostability’ and ‘organic recycling’ (biodegradability is necessary but not sufficient in itself for compostability). However, the legal reference in Europe for packaging (and carrier bags are packaging) must be the Directive that in fact considers biodegradability as the necessary characteristic for the biological recovery of packaging (organic recycling), as noted above. It is therefore through the application of harmonised European standard EN 13432, in light of the definitions of the Packaging Directive, that we can differentiate between biodegradable packaging (which can therefore be recovered by means of organic recycling) and non-biodegradable packaging. It should be noted that harmonised standards (such as EN 13432) are voluntary. However, companies that place packaging on the market which uses harmonised standards already enjoy presumed conformity. If the manufacturer chooses not to follow a harmonised standard, he has the obligation to prove that his products are in conformity with essential requirements by the use of other means of his own choice (other technical specifications). Alternatives to the EN 13432 are described in the next section, even if, as noted, they do not automatically grant the presumption of conformity. Harmonised Standard EN 13432 The origin and regulatory framework Only packaging materials that meet the so-called ‘essential requirements’ specified under the European Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/ EC) can be placed on the market in Europe. The verification of conformity to such requirements is entrusted to the application of the harmonised European standards prepared by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), following the principles of the so-called ‘new approach’ [1]. European lawmakers specified their intentions regarding organic recycling (“the aerobic (composting) or anaerobic (biomethanization) treatment, under controlled conditions and using micro-organisms, of the biodegradable parts of packaging waste, which produces stabilized organic residues and methane. Landfill shall not be considered a form of organic recycling.”) albeit in a somewhat convoluted manner, in Annex II to the Directive, when they provide the definitions of essential requirements. CEN was appointed to draw up “the standard intended to give presumption of conformity with essential requirements for packaging recoverable in the form of composting or biodegradation” in line with ‘Annex II § 3, (c) Packaging recoverable in the form of composting and (d) Biodegradable packaging’ of the Directive. The outcome was standard EN 13432 ‘Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation - Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging’. It is interesting to remark that composting, biodegradation and organic recycling are used synonymously when applied to packaging. The fi rst 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 clarifi e d 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 scientifi c progress and standardisation. Nowadays the situation is different. We now have a clear legal framework, standard test methods and criteria for the unambiguous defi nition of biodegradability and compostabi The complete, and above all enduring, commerci applications, such as biodegradable plast quality and transparency. Sta importance in th bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/11] Vol. 6 37 In July 2021 Francesco Degli Innocenti, Director Ecology of Products, Novamont said: Ten years ago, there was some confusion about the role of standards on compostable packaging. This is nothing new someone will think smiling… Following the ban in Italy of noncompostable shopping bags, a heated discussion had arisen that would have led, four years later, to EU Directive 2015/720 on the consumption of lightweight plastic carrier bags. The discussions were very confused because it seemed that many interlocutors had forgotten the origin and value of the EN 13432 standard. It seemed important to me to explain the genesis of the standard that I had been able to follow since the first discussions in 1991 and to shed light on some apparently bizarre choices but in reality, linked to specific legislative constraints. The standard, in fact, derives from the 1994 packaging directive and serves to demonstrate compliance with the essential requirements of the packaging directive. After ten years, we are awaiting the revision of the packaging directive and, overall, this article from 2011 is still interesting, because it shows us where the compostable sector started from. After 25 years, the legislative and regulatory framework must certainly be improved to keep up with the times but with targeted interventions and respect for the roots, which are embedded in fertile pioneering European policies that must not now be sold off to other continents (actually very interested to the sector), for hasty interventionism. Polylactic Acid Uhde Inventa-Fischer has expanded its product portfolio to include the in of-the-art PLAneo ® process. The feedstock for our PLA process is lactic ac be produced from local agricultural products containing starch or sugar. The application range of PLA is similar to that of polymers based on fossil r its physical properties can be tailored to meet packaging, textile and othe Think. Invest. Earn.

Brand-Owner’s perspective on bioplastics and how to unleash its full potential French-based, zero waste cosmetics brand Lamazuna launched in the UK last year following a decade of pioneering sustainable products in Europe since 2010. Founded by Laëtitia Van de Walle, Lamazuna was the first French brand to offer solid toothpaste and deodorant back in 2014, since then they have continued to innovate with their range of plastic-free products that are naturally derived, made with organic ingredients and certified Cruelty-Free and Vegan by PETA, as well as offering circular return programmes for select products. While bioplastics are not yet suitable for all uses and cannot yet replace all plastics, its environmental advantages are clear: no use of petroleumbased material, the end of life is more easily controlled in the future and its mechanical properties are very similar. Laëtitia Van de Walle, comments: “We trust in the future of this new material, but it’s still far from perfect. The increase in the use of bioplastics could have an impact on land use for plant-based crops such as corn or sugarcane, so it would be relevant to promote biobased materials from so-called 2 nd and 3 rd generation waste instead. While we must be aware that any material produced has an impact on the environment, controlling the life cycle of a product, even in bioplastics, is extremely important. This is our belief and has influenced our work at Lamazuna for over 11 years.” Laëtitia Van de Walle, Founder of Lamazuna Brand Owner New Edition 2020 New Edition 2020 BOOK STORE ORDER NOW email: phone: +49 2161 6884463 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/21] Vol. 16 57

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