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SPI Bioplastics council questions degradable additives

January 23, 2013

WASHINGTON -- An industry group is questioning the scientific validity of biodegradability claims made by producers of degradable additives.

The concerns are included in an updated position paper from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Bioplastics Council.

"We felt it was important to update our 2010 position paper because new terminology is now being used in the marketplace and new studies have become available," said Melissa Hockstad, SPI vice president, science, technology and regulatory affairs, in a news release.

"The 2013 version also includes updated information about standards and certification programs, as well as a new section on 'Guidance on Marketing Claims for Biodegradation.' "

According to the council, suppliers are making marketing claims about "biodegradation" where there is no scientific evidence, or proof that meet the standards of accepted, third-party vetted specifications.

The council stressed that any claim, especially claims for consumers, needs to be supported by third-party vetted scientific evidence based on well-established standard specifications.

"As bioplastics products continue to grow, it is the duty of the industry to provide clear, substantiated scientific third-party certifications that will assure stakeholders that the products offered meet their requirements for end-of-life and offer real value in their intended use," Washington-based SPI said in a news release.

The SPI Bioplastics Council considers the use of terms such as "degradable," "oxo-degradable," "oxo-biodegradable," "oxo-green" and "oxo-biodegradable" misleading.

The group will present the paper on Jan. 30 at the U.S. Composting Council's annual conference in Orlando, Fla.