ORLANDO, FLA. (May 4, 4:50 p.m. ET) — Symphony Environmental Technologies plc used its first U.S. show to set the record straight.
The maker of oxo-biodegradable resin additives is talking to companies and lawmakers worldwide to address misinformation about its d2w technology, said Chief Executive Michael Laurier in an interview at NPE2012, held April 1-5 in Orlando.
“There's a lot of information, bad information, misleading information, on this type of technology,” he said.
According to Symphony, manufacturers can use d2w to control a product's end-life. Plastics made with the additive will degrade, and eventually biodegrade, in as little as a few months, Symphony said.
Degradation occurs through a harmless, irreversible process of oxidation during which carbon is slowly released into the environment — into park life and earthworms, Laurier added.
D2w can be added to most polyolefin products and to both virgin and recycled resins, but cannot currently be used with polystyrene, PET or PVC.
Requiring the use of oxo-biodegradable additives gives lawmakers an alternative to banning plastics, Laurier said, adding that some countries, including the United Arab Emirates, already require plastic to contain d2w.
Laurier claims plastic is non-hazardous, widely used and more environmentally friendly than alternative materials, like paper or cotton. And if oxo-biogegradable additives were required, pollution like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch wouldn't exist, he said.
But claims made by Symphony and other additive manufacturers have come under fire.
In 2010, reports released by the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Bioplastics Council challenged claims that plastics containing the additive would biodegrade fully and could be recycled, among other concerns.
Symphony has been outspoken about defending its products and has released its own studies countering those arguments.
“People will say, ‘You can't recycle it,' but the answer is you can, and we have thousands, tens of thousands of tons of this stuff recycled,” Laurier said. “People will say that you create fragments, and we've proven in a number of case studies that this isn't a fragmentation process.”
Along with discussing d2w, Symphony used NPE to promote two other products in its catalog — an anti-microbial additive dubbed d2p, and its hand-held d2Detector device.
The D2 device is primarily used for quality-control purposes — to ensure the correct amount of additive is in each product or to see what types of recycled material a product contains.
It can also be used as an anti-counterfeiting device. Symphony can place a low-cost, invisible tag in a product's packaging – like the high-clarity biaxially oriented polypropylene film wrapping perfume boxes — to give the item a unique footprint. Companies can then scan the product to ensure its authenticity, Laurier said.
The device, which is portable and features a three-hour rechargeable battery, garnered a lot of interest from large American corporations, he added.
Symphony, based in Borehamwood, England, signed a 25-year U.S. distribution deal last year. American Plastic Technologies LLC, doing business as Symphony Environmental USA in Jacksonville, Fla., celebrated its first anniversary at the show.