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The Real Value of Compostable Plastics

European Bioplastics criticises a study by the University of Plymouth that shall misrepresent on the value of biologically compostable plastics.

It is about the widely in the media published results of the study "Environmental deterioration of biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable, compostable, and conventional plastic carrier bags in the sea, soil, and open-air over a 3-year period" by Imogen E. Napper and Richard C. Thompson from the University of Plymouth. About the coverage in the press we reported in our press review of May 3, 2019. Contrary to the headlines of some newspaper reports, the results from the association's point of view would almost confirm that only certified plastics that are designed to be collected with bio-waste and biologically recycled in special facilities pollute the environment less if they are disposed there improperly. As part of the study, the degradation behaviour of five selected plastic bags was tested over three years in different environments. They were two oxo-degradable bags, a fossil, non-biodegradable polyethylene bag, a bag marketed as biodegradable but proven not to be biodegradable, and only one product certified compostable according to European Standard 13432. However, the composting process designed for this plastic is said to be not even tested in an industrial plant. Plastic products certified as industrially compostable are not a solution for littering. Testing them as if they were is misleading for the public. "It creates the impression of the product lacking in performance, even though the performance in the intended environment has not been tested at all", comments Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics.

Sources:

  • www.european-bioplastics.org (3.5.2019)
  • Photo: BASF