Featured Product: BioKing Oxo-Biodegradable T-shirt Bag
Save Mother Earth! Use BioKing bags!
BioKing is proven to disintegrate in 300 days at 36°C / 97°F* (a process known as photo-degradation) before microorganisms eat the plastic to complete the biodegradable cycle.
Why do we need BioKing oxo-biodegradable plastic bags?
Thousands of tons of plastic wastes enter the waste stream every day, and it will be impossible to 100% recover all of the plastic bags. These unrecovered plastic bags will subsist in the environment for hundreds of years unless they are made biodegradable. Non-biodegradable plastic bags are known to cause wanton flooding when indiscriminately thrown anywhere which then clog drainages and waterways causing havoc to man and environment.
How do BioKing oxo-biodegradable plastic bags work?
A very small amount of BioMate pro-degradant additive is mixed to the plastic during the manufacturing process. BioMate causes the plastic to degrade via a 2-step process i.e. first, the plastic fragments due to oxidation and second, it biodegrades after attaining a molecular weight suited for consumption by microorganisms. Ultimately, the plastic is converted by microorganisms to carbon dioxide, water, and humus and is assimilated in the environment. The BioMate degradation technology has been verified under DOST ITDI ETV 08-013.
Do BioKing oxo-biodegradable plastic bags really biodegrade, or do they just fragment?
The product does not just fragment, but will be consumed by bacteria and fungi after the additive has reduced the molecular weight of the plastic to a level which permits microorganisms access to the carbon and hydrogen. It is therefore “biodegradable”. The process of degradation continues, provided that oxygen is present, until the material has biodegraded to nothing more than carbon dioxide, water, humus and trace elements, and it does not leave fragments of petro-polymers in the soil.
Surely education is the way to solve the litter problem?
Hopefully education will reduce the litter problem over several generations, but large quantities of non-biodegradable plastic bags will always find their way deliberately or accidentally into the open environment. Action needs to be taken today to switch to BioKing Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic Bags before thousands more tons of non-biodegradable plastic bags accumulate in the environment.
Isn’t it better to recycle than to let it biodegrade?
Yes, and one of the benefits of BioKing Oxo-Biodegradable Plastic Bags is that it can be recycled as part of a normal plastic waste stream. However, if the plastic is not collected, it cannot be recycled, so it needs to self-destruct instead of accumulating in the environment.
Can it be composted?
Oxo-biodegradable plastics do not degrade quickly in low temperature “window” composting, but it can be composted by industrial “in-vessel” processes at the higher temperatures.
Biodegradation in the environment is NOT the same thing as composting.
Composting is an artificial process operated to a much shorter timescale than the processes of nature. International standards, such as ASTM D6400, EN 13432, and Australian Standard 4736, designed for compostable plastic are not therefore appropriate for plastic which is designed to self-destruct if it gets into the environment.
What happens to it in a landfill?
Oxo-biodegradable plastics degrade in the surface layers of the landfill, but the residues are completely inert deeper in the landfill in the absence of oxygen. They do not emit methane.
Does it contain “metals”?
It contains transition metal ions which are trace elements required in the human diet. They should not be confused with toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium, which are never used in oxo-biodegradable plastics. Also, metal salts should not be confused with the metals themselves e.g. pure sodium is dangerous, but sodium chloride is table salt.
Isn’t it made from oil?
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are currently made from naphtha, which is a by-product of oil refining, which used to be wasted. Oil is of course a finite resource, but this by-product arises because the world needs fuels and oils for engines, and would arise whether or not the by-product were used to make plastic goods.
Unless the oil is left under the ground, carbon dioxide will inevitably be released, but until other fuels and lubricants have been developed for engines, it makes good environmental sense to use the by-product.
Does it leave any harmful residues?
No. The active ingredient in BioMate has passed all the usual eco-toxicity tests, including seed germination, plant growth, etc. Eco-toxicity tests are carried out in accordance with ASTM D6954-04 standards.
Can it be re-used?
Yes. Oxo-biodegradable plastic is particularly useful for short-life items like carrier-bags. To prolong the oxidative process, it must be stored in a cool dry place and away from sunlight.
More careless disposal?
Degradable plastic bags have been supplied to supermarkets abroad for more than five years, but there is no evidence that people dispose more carelessly of them and they have not been encouraged to do so. But suppose for the sake of argument that 10% more were discarded, if 1,000 conventional and 1,000 oxo-biodegradable bags were left uncollected in the environment, 1,000 conventional bags would remain in the rivers, streets and fields for decades, but none of the oxo-biodegradable bags would be left at the end of the short life programmed into them at manufacture.
There will always be people who will deliberately or accidentally discard their plastic waste. What will happen to all the plastic waste that will not be recovered for recycling and instead will litter the environment – would it not be better if the discarded plastic were all oxo-biodegradable?
Is it safe for food-contact?
Yes. BioMate doused oxo-biodegradable plastics have been certified by BFAD as safe for food-contact applications.
Isn’t it better to use paper bags?
No. The process of making paper bags causes 70% more atmospheric pollution than plastic bags. Paper bags use 300% more energy to produce, and the process uses huge amounts of water and creates very unpleasant organic waste. When they degrade they emit methane and carbon dioxide.
A stack of 1000 new plastic carrier bags would be around 2 inches high, but a stack of 1000 new paper grocery bags could be around 2 feet high. It would take at least seven times the number of trucks to deliver the same number of bags, creating seven times more transport pollution and road congestion.
Also, because paper bags are not as strong as plastic, people may use two or three bags inside each other. Paper bags cannot normally be re-used, and will disintegrate if wet.
Isn’t it better to use durable re-usable bags?
No. Long-term re-usable shopping bags are not the answer. They are much thicker and more expensive, and a large number of them would be required for the weekly shopping of an average family. 30,000 jute or cotton bag can be packed into a 20-foot container, but the same container will accommodate 2.5 million plastic carrier-bags. Therefore, to transport the same number of jute or cotton bags, 80x more ships and trucks would be required than for plastic bags, using 80x more fuel and emitting 80x more carbon dioxide. Cloth bags are not hygienic if a tomato is squashed or milk is spilled. Research by Guelph Chemical Laboratories in Canada in 2008 Microbiological Study of Reusable Grocery Bags has shown that “re-usable grocery bags can become an active microbial habitat and a breeding-ground for bacteria, yeast, mold, and coli forms… The unacceptable presence of coli forms – i.e. intestinal bacteria, in some of the bags tested, suggests that forms of E.Coli associated with severe disease could be present in a small but significant proportion of the bags.”
Whilst sometimes called “Bags for Life” they have a limited life, depending on the treatment they receive, and become a very durable form of litter when discarded. Shoppers do not always go to the shop from home, where the re-usable bags would normally be kept, and consumers are unlikely to have a re-usable bag with them when buying on impulse items such as clothing, groceries, CDs, magazines, stationery, etc.
Durable bags are a cost to the consumer and plastic bags are a cost to the supermarkets & retailers.
For those who believe in long-term re-usable bags, they can be made from washable extended-life oxo-biodegradable plastic and will last for 3-5 years.
How long does it take to completely degrade?
An important advantage of oxo-biodegradable plastic is that it can be programmed to degrade in whatever timescale required. The active ingredient of BioMate has achieved 91% biodegradation rate after 700 days at a particular dosage level.
What standards exist?
Oxo-biodegradable plastic can be tested according to ASTM D6954-04. Until recently there was no standard in Europe designed to test oxo-biodegradable plastic. However, in July 2007 the French Standards organisation, AFNOR, published XP T 54-980, which is a standard for oxo-biodegradable plastics in agriculture. BS 8472 has been developed to measure oxo-biodegradation by the British Standards Institution.