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Issue 06/2020

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Highlights: Films / Flexibles Bioplastics from waste-streams Basics: Eutrophication

Basics Glossary 4.4 last

Basics Glossary 4.4 last update issue 06/2020 In bioplastics MAGAZINE again and again the same expressions appear that some of our readers might not (yet) be familiar with. This glossary shall help with these terms and shall help avoid repeated explanations such as PLA (Polylactide) in various articles. Bioplastics (as defined by European Bioplastics e.V.) is a term used to define two different kinds of plastics: a. Plastics based on → renewable resources (the focus is the origin of the raw material used). These can be biodegradable or not. b. → Biodegradable and → compostable plastics according to EN13432 or similar standards (the focus is the compostability of the final product; biodegradable and compostable plastics can be based on renewable (biobased) and/or non-renewable (fossil) resources). Bioplastics may be - based on renewable resources and biodegradable; - based on renewable resources but not be biodegradable; and - based on fossil resources and biodegradable. 1 st Generation feedstock | Carbohydrate-rich plants such as corn or sugar cane that can also be used as food or animal feed are called food crops or 1 st generation feedstock. Bred by mankind over centuries for highest energy efficiency, currently, 1 st generation feedstock is the most efficient feedstock for the production of bioplastics as it requires the least amount of land to grow and produce the highest yields. [bM 04/09] 2 nd Generation feedstock | refers to feedstock not suitable for food or feed. It can be either non-food crops (e.g. cellulose) or waste materials from 1 st generation feedstock (e.g. waste vegetable oil). [bM 06/11] 3 rd Generation feedstock | This term currently relates to biomass from algae, which – having a higher growth yield than 1 st and 2 nd generation feedstock – were given their own category. It also relates to bioplastics from waste streams such as CO 2 or methane. [bM 02/16] Aerobic digestion | Aerobic means in the presence of oxygen. In → composting, which is an aerobic process, → microorganisms access the present oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere. They metabolize the organic material to energy, CO 2 , water and cell biomass, whereby part of the energy of the organic material is released as heat. [bM 03/07, bM 02/09] Since this Glossary will not be printed in each issue you can download a pdf version from our website ( bioplastics MAGAZINE is grateful to European Bioplastics for the permission to use parts of their Glossary. Version 4.0 was revised using EuBP’s latest version (Jan 2015). [*: bM ... refers to more comprehensive article previously published in bioplastics MAGAZINE) Anaerobic digestion | In anaerobic digestion, organic matter is degraded by a microbial population in the absence of oxygen and producing methane and carbon dioxide (= → biogas) and a solid residue that can be composted in a subsequent step without practically releasing any heat. The biogas can be treated in a Combined Heat and Power Plant (CHP), producing electricity and heat, or can be upgraded to bio-methane [14]. [bM 06/09] Amorphous | Non-crystalline, glassy with unordered lattice Amylopectin | Polymeric branched starch molecule with very high molecular weight (biopolymer, monomer is → glucose). [bM 05/09] Amylose | Polymeric non-branched starch molecule with high molecular weight (biopolymer, monomer is → glucose). [bM 05/09] Biobased | The term biobased describes the part of a material or product that is stemming from → biomass. When making a biobasedclaim, the unit (→ biobased carbon content, → biobased mass content), a percentage and the measuring method should be clearly stated [1]. Biobased carbon | Carbon contained in or stemming from → biomass. A material or product made of fossil and → renewable resources contains fossil and → biobased carbon. The biobased carbon content is measured via the 14 C method (radiocarbon dating method) that adheres to the technical specifications as described in [1,4,5,6]. Biobased labels | The fact that (and to what percentage) a product or a material is → biobased can be indicated by respective labels. Ideally, meaningful labels should be based on harmonised standards and a corresponding certification process by independent third-party institutions. For the property biobased such labels are in place by certifiers → DIN CERTCO and → TÜV Austria who both base their certifications on the technical specification as described in [4,5]. A certification and the corresponding label depicting the biobased mass content was developed by the French Association Chimie du Végétal [ACDV]. Biobased mass content | describes the amount of biobased mass contained in a material or product. This method is complementary to the 14 C method, and furthermore, takes other chemical elements besides the biobased carbon into account, such as oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen. A measuring method has been developed and tested by the Association Chimie du Végétal (ACDV) [1]. Biobased plastic | A plastic in which constitutional units are totally or partly from → biomass [3]. If this claim is used, a percentage should always be given to which extent the product/material is → biobased [1]. [bM 01/07, bM 03/10] Biodegradable Plastics | are plastics that are completely assimilated by the → microorganisms present a defined environment as food for their energy. The carbon of the plastic must completely be converted into CO 2 during the microbial process. The process of biodegradation depends on the environmental conditions, which influence it (e.g. location, temperature, humidity) and on the material or application itself. Consequently, the process and its outcome can vary considerably. Biodegradability is linked to the structure of the polymer chain; it does not depend on the origin of the raw materials. There is currently no single, overarching standard to back up claims about biodegradability. One standard, for example, is ISO or in Europe: EN 14995 Plastics - Evaluation of compostability - Test scheme and specifications. [bM 02/06, bM 01/07] Biogas | → Anaerobic digestion Biomass | Material of biological origin excluding material embedded in geological formations and material transformed to fossilised material. This includes organic material, e.g. trees, crops, grasses, tree litter, algae and waste of biological origin, e.g. manure [1, 2]. Biorefinery | the co-production of a spectrum of bio-based products (food, feed, materials, chemicals including monomers or building blocks for bioplastics) and energy (fuels, power, heat) from biomass. [bM 02/13] Blend | Mixture of plastics, polymer alloy of at least two microscopically dispersed and molecularly distributed base polymers. Bisphenol-A (BPA) | Monomer used to produce different polymers. BPA is said to cause health problems, it behaves like a hormone. Therefore, it is banned for use in children’s products in many countries. BPI | Biodegradable Products Institute, a notfor-profit association. Through their innovative compostable label program, BPI educates manufacturers, legislators and consumers about the importance of scientifically based standards for compostable materials which biodegrade in large composting facilities. Carbon footprint | (CFPs resp. PCFs – Product Carbon Footprint): Sum of → greenhouse gas emissions and removals in a product system, expressed as CO 2 equivalent, and based on a → Life Cycle Assessment. The CO 2 equivalent of a specific amount of greenhouse gas is calculated as the mass of a given greenhouse gas multiplied by its → global warming potential [1,2,15]. 54 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/20] Vol. 15

Basics Carbon neutral, CO 2 neutral | describes a product or process that has a negligible impact on total atmospheric CO 2 levels. For example, carbon neutrality means that any CO 2 released when a plant decomposes or is burnt is offset by an equal amount of CO 2 absorbed by the plant through photosynthesis when it is growing. Carbon neutrality can also be achieved by buying sufficient carbon credits to make up the difference. The latter option is not allowed when communicating → LCAs or carbon footprints regarding a material or product [1, 2]. Carbon-neutral claims are tricky as products will not in most cases reach carbon neutrality if their complete life cycle is taken into consideration (including the end-of-life). If an assessment of a material, however, is conducted (cradle-to-gate), carbon neutrality might be a valid claim in a B2B context. In this case, the unit assessed in the complete life cycle has to be clarified [1]. Cascade use | of → renewable resources means to first use the → biomass to produce biobased industrial products and afterwards – due to their favourable energy balance – use them for energy generation (e.g. from a biobased plastic product to → biogas production). The feedstock is used efficiently and value generation increases decisively. Catalyst | Substance that enables and accelerates a chemical reaction. Cellophane | Clear film based on → cellulose. [bM 01/10] Cellulose | is the principal component of cell walls in all higher forms of plant life, at varying percentages. It is therefore the most common organic compound and also the most common polysaccharide (multi-sugar) [11]. Cellulose is a polymeric molecule with very high molecular weight (monomer is → gucose), industrial production from wood or cotton, to manufacture paper, plastics and fibres. [bM 01/10] Cellulose ester | occurs by the esterification of cellulose with organic acids. The most important cellulose esters from a technical point of view are cellulose acetate (CA with acetic acid), cellulose propionate (CP with propionic acid) and cellulose butyrate (CB with butanoic acid). Mixed polymerisates, such as cellulose acetate propionate (CAP) can also be formed. One of the most well-known applications of cellulose aceto butyrate (CAB) is the moulded handle on the Swiss army knife [11]. Cellulose acetate CA | → Cellulose ester CEN | Comité Européen de Normalisation (European organisation for standardization). Certification | is a process in which materials/products undergo a string of (laboratory) tests to verify that they fulfil certain requirements. Sound certification systems should be based on (ideally harmonised) European standards or technical specifications (e.g. by → CEN, USDA, ASTM, etc.) and be performed by independent third-party laboratories. Successful certification guarantees high product safety - also on this basis, interconnected labels can be awarded that help the consumer to make an informed decision. Compost | A soil conditioning material of decomposing organic matter which provides nutrients and enhances soil structure. [bM 06/08, 02/09] Compostable Plastics | Plastics that are → biodegradable under → composting conditions: specified humidity, temperature, → microorganisms and timeframe. To make accurate and specific claims about compostability, the location (home, → industrial) and timeframe need to be specified [1]. Several national and international standards exist for clearer definitions, for example EN 14995 Plastics - Evaluation of compostability - Test scheme and specifications. [bM 02/06, bM 01/07] Composting | is the controlled → aerobic, or oxygen-requiring, decomposition of organic materials by → microorganisms, under controlled conditions. It reduces the volume and mass of the raw materials while transforming them into CO 2 , water and a valuable soil conditioner – compost. When talking about composting of bioplastics, foremost → industrial composting in a managed composting facility is meant (criteria defined in EN 13432). The main difference between industrial and home composting is, that in industrial composting facilities temperatures are much higher and kept stable, whereas in the composting pile temperatures are usually lower, and less constant as depending on factors such as weather conditions. Home composting is a way slower-paced process than industrial composting. Also, a comparatively smaller volume of waste is involved. [bM 03/07] Compound | Plastic mixture from different raw materials (polymer and additives). [bM 04/10). Copolymer | Plastic composed of different monomers. Cradle-to-Gate | Describes the system boundaries of an environmental → Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) which covers all activities from the cradle (i.e., the extraction of raw materials, agricultural activities and forestry) up to the factory gate. Cradle-to-Cradle | (sometimes abbreviated as C2C): Is an expression which communicates the concept of a closed-cycle economy, in which waste is used as raw material (‘waste equals food’). Cradle-to-Cradle is not a term that is typically used in → LCA studies. Cradle-to-Grave | Describes the system boundaries of a full → Life Cycle Assessment from manufacture (cradle) to use phase and disposal phase (grave). Crystalline | Plastic with regularly arranged molecules in a lattice structure. Density | Quotient from mass and volume of a material, also referred to as specific weight . DIN | Deutsches Institut für Normung (German organisation for standardization). DIN-CERTCO | Independent certifying organisation for the assessment on the conformity of bioplastics. Dispersing | Fine distribution of non-miscible liquids into a homogeneous, stable mixture. Drop-In bioplastics | are chemically identical to conventional petroleum-based plastics but made from renewable resources. Examples are bio-PE made from bio-ethanol (from e.g. sugar cane) or partly biobased PET; the monoethylene glycol made from bio-ethanol (from e.g. sugar cane). Developments to make terephthalic acid from renewable resources are underway. Other examples are polyamides (partly biobased e.g. PA 4.10 or PA 6.10 or fully biobased like PA 5.10 or PA11). EN 13432 | European standard for the assessment of the → compostability of plastic packaging products. Energy recovery | Recovery and exploitation of the energy potential in (plastic) waste for the production of electricity or heat in waste incineration plants (waste-to-energy). Environmental claim | A statement, symbol or graphic that indicates one or more environmental aspect(s) of a product, component, packaging or service [16]. Enzymes | are proteins that catalyze chemical reactions. Enzyme-mediated plastics | are not → bioplastics. Instead, a conventional non-biodegradable plastic (e.g. fossil-based PE) is enriched with small amounts of an organic additive. Microorganisms are supposed to consume these additives and the degradation process should then expand to the nonbiodegradable PE and thus make the material degrade. After some time the plastic is supposed to visually disappear and to be completely converted to carbon dioxide and water. This is a theoretical concept which has not been backed up by any verifiable proof so far. Producers promote enzyme-mediated plastics as a solution to littering. As no proof for the degradation process has been provided, environmental beneficial effects are highly questionable. Ethylene | Colour- and odourless gas, made e.g. from, Naphtha (petroleum) by cracking or from bio-ethanol by dehydration. The monomer of the polymer polyethylene (PE). European Bioplastics e.V. | The industry association representing the interests of Europe’s thriving bioplastics’ industry. Founded in Germany in 1993 as IBAW, European Bioplastics today represents the interests of about 50 member companies throughout the European Union and worldwide. With members from the agricultural feedstock, chemical and plastics industries, as well as industrial users and recycling companies, European Bioplastics serves as both a contact platform and catalyst for advancing the aims of the growing bioplastics industry. Extrusion | Process used to create plastic profiles (or sheet) of a fixed cross-section consisting of mixing, melting, homogenising and shaping of the plastic. FDCA | 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid, an intermediate chemical produced from 5-HMF. The dicarboxylic acid can be used to make → PEF = polyethylene furanoate, a polyester that could be a 100% biobased alternative to PET. Fermentation | Biochemical reactions controlled by → microorganisms or → enzymes (e.g. the transformation of sugar into lactic acid). FSC | The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent, non-governmental, not-forprofit organization established to promote the responsible and sustainable management of the world’s forests. bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/20] Vol. 15 55

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