BASF Ecovio plastic

Monday, 26 July, 2010 | Supplied by: BASF Australia Ltd

The latest release of the Ecovio range from BASF can be used to make 100% compostable and biodegradable plastic bags which meet European standard EN 13432 and Australian standard AS 4736.

Ecovio is made of a combination of polylactic acid made from corn starch (a renewable raw material) and Ecoflex, the BASF biodegradable plastic.

A benefit of the compostable plastic is that manufacturers can use this material as a finished product, directly and without any additional admixtures, for extruding biodegradable films, although tailor-made blends can be produced with the plastic.

It can be processed on conventional blown film lines; has a high melt strength and thermal stability; can be welded; is puncture and tear resistant; is watertight; and it can be printed in eight colours.

BASF conducted a benchmark trial at a German composting facility to test whether Ecovio bags degrade within the time frame required for them to be used by professional composters - three and a half weeks. The study found that the latest version of the Ecovio material left no residue after composting for that time. In controlled composting test, Ecovio bags demonstrated more than 90% conversion to CO2 after only 80 days.

The plastics have been developed primarily for products such as shopping bags and bags for organic waste, which are transformed into valuable compost - together with the bio-waste - in an industrial composting facility. Research into other applications includes: coating paper and cardboard, shrink film to wrap packaged goods, food packaging such as tomatoes and net bags for onions and potatoes, seedling cases for nurseries, and mulch film in arid agricultural regions.

The biodegradable shopping bags are strong enough to be used multiple times and, at the end of their days, they serve as a convenient bag for collecting and disposing of organic kitchen waste.

Green shopping is a mutual responsibility: survey

Australian shoppers, food manufacturers and retailers have a mutual responsibility towards buying, producing and stocking ‘green’ products after a new survey found only 13% of Australians buy environmentally sustainable food and groceries from the supermarket. However, 80% of Australians consider sustainability issues when putting products in their shopping trolleys, according to independent research conducted by Net Balance supported by the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), Woolworths Limited, Amcor and EPA Victoria.

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents said they would compromise on packaging to protect the environment but only 6% would give up convenience, AFGC’s Green Shopper survey of 1000 Australian shoppers leaving four Woolworths supermarkets in Sydney and Melbourne found.

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