European Bioplastics today published a position paper distancing itself from the so-called "oxo-biodegradable” industry. The paper sheds some light on the technology behind the so-called "oxo-biodegradable" industry, its failure to live up to international established and acknowledged standards that effectively substantiate claims on biodegradation and compostability, and the implications resulting from the different approaches.
"Bioplastics are still a relatively young industry,” says Andy Sweetman, Chairman of the Board of European Bioplastics. "Inherent implications made on the environmental suitability of our products are subject to close scrutiny by all kinds of stakeholders. It is, therefore, vital that claims on biodegradability or compostability are backed by internationally accepted standards,” he adds.
"We just cannot allow that the public, who are generally very sensitive to ecological issues, be further confused by claims on biodegradability and compostability resulting from conflicting approaches. If certain products that claim to be biodegradable or compostable are proven not to fulfill acknowledged standards, this is liable to impact negatively on our own members’ products, even though they do fully comply,” Sweetman further states. It should, under all circumstances, be avoided that products carrying the compostability mark of European Bioplastics, the seedling, be associated in any way with so-called ”oxo-biodegradable” products and the like.
Products carrying the seedling have undergone rigorous independent testing beforehand. Only if proven to comply with the strict standards on biodegradability or compostability, such as ISO 17088, EN 13432 or other similar standards, can the tested material or product be awarded the seedling.
"This is also why we so vigorously fought against the attempt of the 'oxo-biodegradable' industry to water-down the criteria of the EN 13432, requesting longer timeframes for materials to decompose. It would not have been in the public or the composting industry’s interest to have compromised the strict criteria of EN 13432 which ensures the materials are fit for purpose,” the chairman adds. "Fortunately, our position is fully shared by the experts of the plastic and packaging sectors, as was evident during the last meeting of the relevant Working Group of The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) on July 9, 2009, where the requests for revision of the standard were rejected."
Source: European Bioplastics
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