Following the recent announcement that a 5p bag tax will be introduced in England from 2015 on all single use PE carrier bags obtained from retailers with over 250 employees, a UK-based company claims to have developed a biodegradable AND recyclable solution for plastic carrier bags.
Polymer technology company, Enzymoplast, has submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit suggesting that its solution means plastic carrier bags “do not have to be either biodegradable or recyclable but can be both.” ISO14855 and EN13432 are the accepted industry standards for biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging.
One of the Government’s proposals is that the levy will not apply to biodegradable carrier bags, which is a concern for the recycling industry in the UK as such materials may contaminate the recycling stream. Enzymoplast says its solution is based on an enzymatic reaction in which the enzymes remain inert until they come into contact with a microbial source. The company claims the product is biodegradable and is recyclable with standard PE waste streams without contamination.
“Once reprocessed, the PE containing the enzyme pack will be diluted to such an extent that the enzymatic reaction simply will not start,” explained Wayne Dobson, Sales and Marketing Director. “The consequence of this is that the recyclate will retain all of the inherent mechanical properties of standard plastic recyclate. If the product containing Enzymoplast does not enter the recycling stream, then the material can be reintroduced into the carbon cycle, whatever the end-of-life of the material.”
Enzymoplast has recently been certified according to ASTM D 7209 – 2006, Standard Guide for Waste Reduction, Resource Recovery and Use of Recycled Polymeric Materials and Products.