ANSWERS TO FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON BIOPOLYMERS
Most frequent questions and answers
BIOBASED is the term used to define those plastics whose monomers come from natural and not fossil resources. These renewable sources usually correspond to agricultural raw materials that are not used as food, such as remains of corn, cereals, sugar beets, cassava or sugarcane crops.
Biobased polymers help to avoid the depletion of fossil resources (petroleum) and considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Not all biobased polymers are biodegradable, some of them are and some are not, a biodegradable polymer must comply with many other requirements.
BIODEGRADABLE polymers are plastics that, at the end of their lifecycle, are completely assimilated by the microorganisms present in the environment.. Biodegradation depends on many environmental factors such as humidity, location, temperature, etc.
Biodegradability is linked to the polymer chainand does not depend on the origin of the raw materials. Some biodegradable polymers are not biologically based.
INZEA® Biopolymers grades are BIODEGRADABLE and BIOBASED, with a renewable content up to 95%.
BIODEGRADABLE AND COMPOSTABLE definitions refer to all those materials that, due to their molecular structure, can be assimilated by the microorganisms present in the environment. The biggest difference between them lies on the human intervention to control the biodegradation conditions in order to comply with a standard, and also if the biopolymers are valorized or not as compost.
BIODEGRADABLE polymers become nutrients or biomass naturally in different environments such as soil, water, seawater or anaerobic digestion. It is a longer and gradual process that does not require any human intervention to modify the biodegradation conditions.
COMPOSTABLE materials are transformed into compost (organic fertilizer) either at industrial compost plants, home composting containers, either in soil, under certain controlled conditions (timeframe, temperature, humidity, microorganisms). Thanks to this, degradation times are faster and the material is revalued as compost.
All compostable materials are biodegradable but a biodegradable material may or may not be compostable.
Several national and international standards exist to evaluate compostability, for example EN 13432:2000 or ASTM D6400-12 for industrial compost and EN 17033for agricultural film.
INZEA® Biopolymers are compostable under EN 13432and ASTM D6400-12 standards.
OXODEGRADATION is a chemical decomposition process in which matter is first oxidized and then fragments into pieces. Oxodegradable polymers are conventional petroleum-based plastics, but include an additive in their composition that stimulates its fragmentation.
The oxidation process causes the plastic to become brittle and fragments into small parts. Although this seems an advantage, the oxodegradable polymers have a molecular structure that is not assimilated by the microorganisms present in nature, and all these small pieces of plastic become MICROPLASTICS that remain in NATURE forever.
Therefore, oxodegradable polymers, are NOT COMPOSTABLE NOR BIODEGRADABLE. Thus, they do not represent an effective alternative to avoid the problem of plastic waste and neither do they reduce the depletion of fossil resources. Because of this, they will shortly be prohibeted in many countries.
BIODEGRADABLE AND COMPOSTABLE materials thanks to its structre, are completely assimilated by the microorganisms and have no negative effect on the environment.
INZEA® Biopolymers are BIODEGRADABLE AND COMPOSTABLE.
Terms BIOPLASTIC and BIOPOLYMER are often used but not always in an appropriate way due to is ambiguity. The definition of these similar concepts includesdifferent types of plastics focusing on their origin and the management of their waste.
BIOBASED BIOPLASTICS are all those polymers whose origin is based on renewable sources. They may or may not be biodegradable.
BIODEGRADABLE BIOPLASTICS are all those plastics that at the end of their life cycle are decomposed by the action of environmental bacteria without leaving any residue. If these polymers are biodegraded complying with EN 13432, they are classified ascompostable. These materials may or may not be biobased.
BIODEGRADABLE AND BIOBASED BIOPLASTICS INZEA®Biopolymers comply with both definitions as are a range of bioplastics biodegradable and biobased, with a renewable content up to 95%.
INZEA Biopolymers can replace environmentally unfriendly traditional petroleum-based plastics.
To learn more about bioplastics, you can check www.thinkbioplastic.com
- Choose a warm location.
- Deposit dry and woody materials and a layer of mature compost in the bottom.
- Stir with an aerator to mix the contents well.
- Maintain moisture
- Materials larger than 2 mm should be reduced by 90% in 6 months.
- 90% biodegradation in maximum 12 months.
- Studies of eco-toxicological effectsin plants.
According to European Bioplastics, ORGANIC RECYCLING is related to industrial composting and anaerobic digestion (AD), referring to the “circular” life cycle of many biodegradable and compostable biopolymer products such as bags and food packaging.
Bioplastics biodegrade within a specific norm, which includes a specific period of time, temperature, humidity and a certain presence of microorganisms.
INDUSTRIAL COMPOSTINGis the biodegradation process in an industrial facility, converting, therefore recycling, the biopolymer elements into CO2, H2O and biomass or compost.
Whereas in ANAEROBIC DIGESTION (AD), the biodegradation process converts biopolymers into methane which is captured and used for energy production.