UK researchers devise PE decomposition additive

Anthony Clark
PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: May 8, 2013 12:33 pm ET
Updated: May 8, 2013 12:35 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability, Materials Suppliers

LONDON — British researchers have developed a polyethylene additive which they claim can break down packaging, including plastic bags.

Advanced Enzyme Science, a London-based polymer technology company, has developed Enzymoplast, which the firm says consists of proteins and enzymes that break down polyethylene "in a natural way".

"In Germany people use something like 70 plastic shopping bags a year, while the European average is as many as 200," said the company. "Worldwide up to a billion plastic bags are produced annually. In principle the use of such plastic bags, like plastic sheeting in agriculture or other products made of polyethylene, is unproblematic — provided that they are re-used whenever possible and afterwards recycled.

"However, this is seldom the case and such materials are often simply dumped, very much to the detriment of the environment because plastic bags and sheeting can take up to 500 years to biodegrade fully. The result is not just that our natural scenery is disfigured, but also that the oceans are polluted to an unimaginable degree. There are already stretches of ocean the size of central Europe full of plastic waste."

According to Advanced Enzyme Science, Enzymoplast triggers a decomposition process when plastic bags containing the additive come into contact with microorganisms.

The microorganisms first devour the proteins, which breaks the polymer chain. It also activates the enzymes, which act as a catalyst and accelerate the process. After a few months only water and CO2 remain, claimed Advanced Enzyme Science.

"Of course we would prefer it if plastics bags were not thrown away in the first place," said Narinder Bharj, CEO of Advanced Enzyme Science. "However, unfortunately that's only theory. And this is why the use of Enzymoplast represents significant progress, both in terms of environmental protection, also for the retail trade and consumers."


Comments

UK researchers devise PE decomposition additive

Anthony Clark
PLASTICS & RUBBER WEEKLY

Published: May 8, 2013 12:33 pm ET
Updated: May 8, 2013 12:35 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

EPA fines RI polymer company

August 29, 2014 1:20 pm ET

A Rhode Island polymer manufacturer has reached a $60,000 settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating federal clean...    More

Image

Chinese compounders seek market shares, often at the expense of margins

August 29, 2014 10:02 am ET

China's largest compounder, Kingfa Sci. & Tech. Co. Ltd., as well as its more automotive-focused counterparts Shanghai Pret Composites Co. Ltd. and...    More

Image

Green trend boosts plastic building materials business in China

August 29, 2014 9:42 am ET

The greening of China's domestic building materials market is giving the plastics industry a boost.    More

Image

PP prices rise 5 cents

August 28, 2014 3:59 pm ET

After a one-month break, volatility has returned to the North American polypropylene resin market, with prices increasing by an average of 5 cents...    More

Image

DuPont fined for 2010 chemicals release

August 28, 2014 1:37 pm ET

DuPont Co. has been fined almost $1.3 million for the release of several chemicals — including plastics feedstock phosgene — at its plant ...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events