Plastic pollution remains a pervasive and global problem. More than 85% of plastic waste ends up in landfills, where plastics can take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose. In response to this problem, Actionmail are proud to provide EcoPure® additive treated film wrapping which can enhance the speed of plastic biodegradation in landfills*.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Biodegradation?
Biodegradation is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) as, “A process by which micro-organisms transform or alter (through metabolic or enzymatic action) the structure of chemicals introduced into the environment.” Basically, organic (carbon-based) material is changed through chemical processes from complex molecules into simpler molecules, eventually returning the molecules into the environment.
What Makes Biodegradation Important?
Biodegradation is nature’s waste management and recycling system that keeps our planet clean and healthy. Unfortunately, the rate at which we are producing waste far outpaces the rate of natural biodegradation, leading to an unsustainable state. As landfills fill up at record rates, air, water, and soil pollution are increasing.
What is EcoPure®?
EcoPure® is an organic additive that causes plastic to biodegrade through a series of chemical and biological processes in landfills and enhances the speed of plastic biodegradation.
How EcoPure® works?
EcoPure® allows microbes to create a biofilm that coats the plastic waste. The biofilm forms on treated plastics once it comes in contact with certain enzymes and microbes found in landfills. These microbes then send out chemical signals, a part of the quorum sensing process, that attract other microbes. Through this process, the microbes break down the chemical bonds of polymer chains to biodegrade them at an accelerated rate.
How to dispose of the EcoPure® additive treated plastics?
The EcoPure formula has been designed to biodegrade in biologically active landfills. This process requires the presence of soil bacteria, and as such will not initiate until the treated product is disposed of in a biologically active landfill. So the EcoPure® additive treated plastics or film can be simply put in the normal rubbish.
How long will the product take to break down? Do polymers still remain in the soil after biodegradation?
Depending on the material, the timeline to complete full degradation can vary. With traditional plastics, this process usually takes hundreds to thousands of years to complete. However, EcoPure® plastics complete the biodegradation process includes*:
- Aerobic Phase (first few days)
- Anaerobic, Non-Methanogenic Phase (roughly 2 weeks to 6 months)
- Anaerobic, Methanogenic Unsteady Phase (6 to 18 months)
- Anaerobic, Methanogenic Steady Phase (1 year to 5 years)
There is no polymers remain in the soil after biodegradation. As colonies of microbes continue to eat away at the remaining surface of the polymer, acetates are converted into methane and carbon dioxide, and hydrogen is consumed. The process continues until the only remaining element is humus. This highly nutritional soil creates an improved environment for the microbes and enhances the final stage of decomposition.
Are the by-products of biodegradation harmful to our environment?
Biodegradation is a natural process that is essential in maintaining our planet’s ecosystem and nutrient cycles. In anaerobic conditions, EcoPure® treated plastics will produce humus, carbon dioxide gas, and methane gas as by-products. In aerobic conditions, EcoPure® treated products will produce humus, water, and carbon dioxide gas as natural by-products.
Are products made with EcoPure® certifed recyclable?
Currently, there are no recognized standard certification programs for recyclability. We have provided a number of independent laboratories** with samples of plastic made with EcoPure®. These samples were then subjected to various testing methods to determine if EcoPure®-treated products are suitable for recycling. These tests indicated that EcoPure® does not affect the recyclability of treated products.
* Biodegradation rates of EcoPure-treated plastic materials measured according to the ASTM D5511 test method. Tests are generally conducted using 20% to 30% solids content; solids content in naturally wetter landfills range from 55% to 65%, while the driest landfills may reach 93%. Actual biodegradation rates will vary in biologically-active landfills according to the type of plastic used, the product configuration, and the solid content, temperature, and moisture levels of the landfill.
**The following tests have been performed on PET bottles treated with EcoPure® to verify recyclability. These are standard tests used to determine the quality of PET plastic regrind. These tests are suggested as part of the American Post-consumer Recycling Critical Guidance document. • Haze and Transmission via ASTM D 1003B • Intrinsic Viscosity via ASTM D 4603 • Acetaldehyde via ASTM F 2013 • Fluorescence Visual Visual Black Specks and Gel.
Above Information are quoted from www.goecopure.com