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

Axiall resumes operations at damaged Lake Charles PVC feedstock plant

April 15, 2014 4:41 pm ET

Axiall Corp. has resumed operations at its PVC feedstock plant that was damaged by a fire in December.
More

Image

Austria's Greiner building a foothold in the US rigid packaging market

April 15, 2014 1:22 pm ET

Greiner Packaging International GmbH, one of Europe's largest makers of rigid plastic packaging, now wants to make its mark in the United States.    More

Image

Power failure shuts down two PE resin units in Texas

April 15, 2014 3:35 pm ET

Two polyethylene resin units operated by Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Baytown, Texas, were closed from April 8-11 because of a power failure.    More

Shell Chemical to host public meetings to discuss plans in Pennsylvania

April 15, 2014 3:27 pm ET

Shell Chemical LP will host two public meetings on April 16 to discuss the possibility of building a major petrochemicals plant in the Pittsburgh...    More

Image

Despite struggles, Europe still key market in global resin picture

April 15, 2014 2:06 pm ET

Challenges and opportunities facing international plastics and chemicals markets were tackled by a trio of top executives at the IHS World Petrochemic...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

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

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events