Additive manufacturers form trade group for oxo-biodegradables

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Washington — Additive manufacturers from around the world are banding together to form an industry coalition focused on oxo-biodegradable plastics.

The Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Federation (OBPF) will be a way for this segment of the plastics industry to speak with one voice, the group said in its Feb. 1 announcement.

Founding members include:

• Swedish additive maker Add-X Biotech.

• Germany’s EKMDevelopments.

• EPI, the Canadian maker of Totally Degradable Plastic Additives for polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

• Wells Plastics Ltd. in Stone, England, maker of additive master batches including both oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable products.

• Willow Ridge Plastics Inc. in Erlanger, Ky., maker of primarily PP and PE additives for composting, packaging, plastic bags and film.

“It’s the first time five of the six largest oxo-biodegragable manufacturers are coming together to work together,” said Ray Loflin, technical sales director at Willow Ridge. “The OBPF has the opportunity to really represent a very smart technology as a whole and present arguments together over individual shouting.”

The group, an “industry-wide, global collaboration to promote the appropriate use of oxo-biodegradable products through participation in the development of standards, regulations, material guides and positive community interaction,” according to its first news release, plans a website launch for the near future that will provide news and information as well as serve as a clearing house for members to respond to relevant news as an industry. OBPF also will be equipped to submit articles to scientific journals and is already in the middle of the process of updating relevant standards with ASTM.

While oxo-biodegradable additives have been around for nearly 30 years, they have only garnered attention in the last decade or so. But plenty of misinformation and misconceptions about the additives and the plastics they go into have sprung up, Loflin said.

OBPF members know they have an uphill battle when it comes to educating the public and the plastics industry on oxo-biodegradables, but Loflin said the message is better heard with a unified voice.

“Companies have been going it alone, individually. Haven’t really come together except for laws or guidelines for the use of the technology,” he said. “At this point, the science and the testing have proven to scientists that our stuff works, without a doubt. But our competitors in other technologies have done a great job of sowing mistrust … and a lot of people get into trouble thinking there should just be one solution. There are uses for all of these technologies in the marketplace. But it all starts with getting the word out.”

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