Information Sheet on our Oxo-Biodegradable Packaging (OBP)
In 2020 we introduced a new Oxo-Biodegradable range of packaging for our products. This is a new type of scientifically tested packaging that degrades up to 90 times faster than normal plastic and only needs exposure to oxygen – making it completely safe to put in your recycling/plastics bin.
How does it work?
- A prodegradant catalyst is added to ordinary organic polymer (plastic) at production level, making it water-absorbent (hydrophilic) as well as increasing the rate at which is degrades when exposed to any combination of oxygen, the environment, and heat.
- This increase in speed of oxidation reduces the molecular weight of the polymer until its so light, it is no longer a plastic.
- The reduction in molecular weight, plus the increase in added oxygen, allows microorganisms to colonise the material and begin consuming it on land and in aqueous environments.
- Bacteria and fungi (microorganisms) consume the mass so that the only residues left are carbon-dioxide, water and natural biomass.
This process changes the entire structure of the material from hydrocarbon molecules to oxygen-containing molecules that can be bio-assimilated (absorbed by bacteria as food).
Is it scientifically proven?
Yes. This type of Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic meets all current worldwide standards for biodegradability and non-ecotoxicity.
It has undergone significant testing, in particular in the UK and EU, that have credited it as a product that can “fully mineralise in an open environment” in a much faster time frame than regular plastic, without leaving microplastics.
The EU test requirement for something to be classed as biodegradable is 60% biodegradation in 2 years. Our Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic exceeded this requirement, showing 64% biodegradation is just 60 days.
In 2018, an independent review by QC Peter Susman found that “oxo-biodegradable plastic did facilitate the ultimate biodegradation of plastic in air or seawater by bacteria, fungi, or algae, within a reasonable time, so as to cause the plastic to cease to exist as such, far sooner than ordinary plastics, and without causing any toxicity.”
How do I recycle it?
Oxo-Biodegradable Packaging can be recycled with ordinary plastics.
If it escapes collection, it will degrade/biodegrade in the open environment on land or sea (by becoming food for bacteria and fungi).
Can I compost it?
No. Composting Oxo-Biodegradable Packaging will essentially smother it, preventing oxygen from starting the degradation process.
Does it create microplastics?
No. It does not create microplastics because the material is ultimately completely consumed by bacteria until there is nothing left.