eupc calls for ban on oxo-fragmentable plastics
EuPC has called for a ban on oxo-fragmentable plastics in Europe and a separate collection of degradable plastics in order to ensure “resource efficiency” in Europe’s recycling streams.
The call was made during the 2013 annual meeting of the Brussels-based association of plastics converters, after the results of tests on degradable and fragmentable plastics materials affecting the quality of plastics recycling were announced.
In 2012, EuPC initiated independent testing of different sorts of degradable materials used in the production of carrier bags in Europe through its membership. The objective was to measure the impact on the current recycling streams and the quality of the recyclates for the production of new PE film.
Companies supplied a variety of plastic carrier available in the European market and industrial scale trials were conducted during more than eight months at a plastics recycling machinery producer. Pre-consumer waste was used to perform the tests (non-contaminated and not-aged material). Seventeen different mixtures of theoretical end-of-life situations were reproduced and 3,740 measurements were made in order to carry out the research and measure the impact
Independent laboratories conducted mechanical tests, such as tensile properties, tear resistance and puncture impact on newly blown PE films.
EuPC says the evidence clearly shows that from two percent oxo-fragmentable material in the input waste stream there is “already a visual negative impact, thus affecting the PE film quality. This means that oxo-fragmentable plastics have a very negative impact on plastics recycling already at very low percentages.”
The association says research is on-going to deal with impact from other bioplastics on the market in order to clarify the ambiguous situation. “Oxo-fragmentable plastics have no positive environmental impact on the existing waste streams and should be forbidden in Europe,” it said in a statement.
“It is crucial in terms of resource efficiency for Europe to ensure that biodegradable materials do not end up in the current plastics recycling streams and that they should be kept separate from collection of conventional plastics waste. European Legislators should act accordingly and the Green paper on plastics in the environment will hopefully trigger action in this direction,” EuPC said.