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Comments on Biodegradable Additives

by Steve Mojo, of Biodegradable Products Institute


Steve Mojo heads up the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and certifies compostable and biodegradable products, etc. BPI is a well known certifier. http://www.bpiworld.org/BPI-Public/Approved/3.html . His assessment of “Biodegradable Additives” is “It appears that it doesn’t cause complete biodegradation, which often is the case with these additives.”

In answer to the question posed July 23, 2008 by:
Director, Environmental & Technical Issues American Chemistry Council Plastics Division

I was wondering if you know anything about this particular biodegradable additive for conventional plastic resin – if it performs as it claims (e.g. causes complete biodegradation) and if it is certified by your organization. I didn’t see anything about it listed on your web site. Thanks for any info you can give.

Steve answered:
I think that I do but under different names.

This data appears to be similar to that of another NM based company “Bio-Tec”. And there data seems to be identical to ECM’s, which I have reviewed thoroughly (see attached).
Moreover, this additive also appears to be marketed by a company called Maverick Enterprises, under the name green films. See links below: http://www .bio-tec.biz/products.html
http://www .ecmbiofilms.com/

Regardless of the name, none of the data shows that the additive will make the polymer chains able to be consumed by microbes in the environment. You can generate these types of results by mixing starch (or cellulose) with ordinary polymers. Or they may be eating the plasticizers, not the PE. None of these additives will render the “entire product able to be returned to elements found in nature in a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal”.
These types of claims by additive suppliers are running rampant. Moreover, they are leading converters down the path, resulting in misleading claims, that ultimately will get one of them in trouble. (I drew the line with “biodegradable dry cleaning bags”).

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