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 Sustainability, Materials, 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

Coca-Cola sustainability report highlights PlantBottle usage

October 1, 2014 12:47 pm ET

Coca-Cola Co. has now distributed more than 25 billion PlantBottles since their introduction five years ago.    More

Image

OptiLedge taking Ikea's pallet replacement system to the next level

October 1, 2014 11:49 am ET

OptiLedge LLC is taking Ikea's plastic alternative to the traditional wooden pallet to the next level, making and marketing them globally.    More

Image

Global Plastics Summit puts PE prices in the spotlight

October 1, 2014 3:17 pm ET

Product manufacturers may start to shift away from polyethylene because of high prices, according to two major plastics processors.    More

Image

Nucleation offers solution to shrinkage in HDPE closures

October 1, 2014 1:57 pm ET

For caps producers, nucleation can provide a practical solution to eliminate shrinkage variations in high density polyethylene beverage closures....    More

Image

Dow loses appeal in price fixing case

October 1, 2014 11:10 am ET

The Reuters press agency reports that a federal appeals court in Denver has rejected Dow Chemical Co.'s attempt to overturn a $1.06 billion fine impos...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our industry analysis highlights macro industry trends and micro trends faced by companies that do business in Mexico. The report also provides key industry statistics and forecasts to anticipate future industry expansion.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Woodís economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events