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Comments regarding the ECM’s biodregradability testing results

written by Steve Mojo who heads up the Biodregradable Products Institute and certifies compostable and biodregradable products.

Comments regarding the ECM’s “biodegradabilty testing results

This provides my comments regarding the claims made by ECM with regards to the impact of their Masterbatch Pellets based on test data and other printed materials provided by an interested converter. In the ECM sales materials, the following claims are made, per Exhibit 1:
“Plastic products made with ECM additives

  • Fully biodegrade in 9 months to 5 years.
  • Fully biodegrade wherever they are disposed of where other things are
  • biodegrading (anaerobically and aerobically:
    • In Landfills
    • In Compost (backyard as well as commercial facilities)
    • Buried in the ground or littered
    • Agricultural and erosion-control settings.
  • Are recyclable
  • Can be made with recycled resins
  • Do not use heat, light or mechanical stress to break them down
  • Do not require special handling (unlike PLA and oxo-degradable products)
  • Do not contain heavy metals (unlike most oxo-degradable products)”

Overall Comments:

1. There is no data to support ECM’s conclusions that the use of their
additive will foster complete biodegradation via microbial assimilation of base resin-polyethylene. Moreover, none of the data shows that their additives will make ordinary plastics “biodegradable” and comply with the definition of “biodegradable” as stated by the Federal Trade Commission’s Environmental Marketing Guides,

b) Degradable/biodegradable/photodegradable: It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product or package is degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable. An unqualified claim that a product or package is degradable, biodegradable or photodegradable should be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire product or package will completely break down and return to nature, i.e., decompose into elements found in nature within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal.
Claims of degradability, biodegradability or photodegradability should be qualified to the extent necessary to avoid consumer deception about: (1) the product or package’s ability to degrade in the environment where it is customarily disposed; and (2) the rate and extent of degradation.

Source: FTC Guides for Environmental Marketing Claims

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