Biodegradable bags depend on local action - BASF

31 January 2008 00:57  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--Further development of biodegradable and compostable bags will depend on the growth of organic recycling in the US, a BASF executive said on Wednesday.

Biodegradable bags are currently being used as organic waste collection bags, can liners and lawn and leaf bags in North America and Europe. The next step is penetration into the grocery bags segment. Biodegradable bags need to be processed through a special facilities and unless a community has a dedicated programme, the bags offer little advantage compared with those made from conventional polyethylene (PE) materials.


Thus, conversion to biodegradable grocery bags is largely dependent on widespread infrastructure to collect organic waste from homes, said Keith Edwards, BASF’s Nafta business manager for Styroflex and biopolymers.


“The disposal of [biodegradable and compostable] grocery bags is…difficult to manage, unless an established organics collection program is in place,” he said. However, Edwards added: “Where a growing food waste collection or organics recycling program exists, the bags come soon after.”

While biodegradable plastics have been around for roughly 20 years, the right physical properties for bags are only a recent development, occurring in the past eight years, Edwards said.

BASF recently launched a foam version of its biodegradable plastic Ecovio. Ecovio is made from BASF’s biodegradable polyester Ecoflex and polyactic acid.

For further insight into biodegradable plastic bags, look for the 11 February issue of ICIS Chemical Business.

By: Ivan Lerner
+1 713 525 2653

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