The Bioplastics Council of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has joined the growing number of voices questioning the scientific validity of biodegradability claims made by producers of oxo-degradable and oxo-biodegradable products.
For the past year, the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers in Washington has challenged bio-additives makers to prove their materials don't ultimately weaken products made from recycled resins that contain such additives.
The National Association for PET Container Resources in Sonoma, Calif., has expressed similar concerns, and last month, APR issued a set of voluntary testing protocols that materials suppliers and blow molders can use to evaluate the effect of degradable additives on PET bottles.
SPI's Bioplastics Council said Jan. 28 that it supports the stance set forth in July by Berlin-based trade association European Bioplastics EV, which is similar to the positions taken by APR and NAPCOR.
Any claim needs to be supported by scientific data, said the Bioplastics Council in its position paper. In the case of oxo-biodegradables, the issue is one of claiming biodegradation where there is not data to support those claims or to prove biodegradability as per accepted standards. Biodegradation needs to be quantified scientifically by well-established, third-party-reviewed specifications.
Allowing the brand owner, retailer or ultimately the consumer to decide what they consider a biodegradable product to be is risky.
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