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Additive makes many resins biodegradable

As an alternative to biodegradable resins, a Vancouver company has developed additives that accelerate the degradat...


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June 27, 2003 by Canadian Plastics

As an alternative to biodegradable resins, a Vancouver company has developed additives that accelerate the degradation of many commodity thermoplastics. EPI Environmental Products Inc. has been making the additive for several years and using it in a proprietary film used to cover landfill sites.
The technology is also licensed to Ciba Specialty Chemicals for worldwide agricultural applications. Ciba markets the additives under the brand name Envirocare.
At NPE, EPI introduced its additives to the industry at large. TDPA additives can be added at the machine throat, generally at letdown ratios of 2-3%. They work by accelerating the oxidation of the plastic. The reaction is triggered by heat or UV light, and enhanced by mechanical stress and moisture.
Once the plastic begins to oxidize, explains Michael Weedon of EPI, it becomes brittle and susceptible to the usual agents of degradation, such as moisture and microbes.
Weedon says the first stage of oxidation can being in as little as five or six weeks.
Potential uses include grocery bags, flexible and rigid food packaging, fast food containers, disposable diapers, industrial wraps, and compost and garbage bags.