In 1907 the world’s first fully synthetic plastic was invented in New York, and since that time we have created over 8 billion metric tones. Due to their low cost, ease of manufacture, versatility, and imperviousness to water, plastics are used in a multitude of products of different scales, including paper clips, cars, mobile telephones, food packaging, spacecraft, clothing, household items, medical applications, etc. They have prevailed over traditional materials because of their lightweight properties, flexibility, heat resistance and low cost to produce. In developed economies, about a third of plastic is used in packaging and roughly the same in buildings, in applications such as piping, plumbing or vinyl slidings. Other uses include automobiles (up to 20% plastic), furniture, and toys. In the developing world, the applications of plastic may differ— for example, 42% of Indian consumption is used in packaging. Worldwide, about 50 kg of plastic is produced annually per person, with production doubling every ten years. The success and dominance of plastics starting in the early 20th century led to environmental concerns regarding its slow decomposition rate after being discarded as trash due to its composition of large molecules. Toward the end of the last century, one approach to this problem was met with wide efforts toward recycling. Plastics are extremely strong and durable. The end of life of such items has been painful to enhance. They are therefore remaining in landfills for many years, even centuries. Many plastics have been found to fragment into microplastics, which have been found in many examples in the oceans in the seafood we consume, also our bottled water and even microorganisms. Five major areas, mostly in South East Asia are found to be responsible for almost 60% of plastic pollution in the oceans of the world, and these countries, due to ease of usage, are mostly increasing their plastic production and consumption. With little or no infrastructure in place for recycling or waste management, it is now time we must introduce a new outlook on how we deal with our ever-growing plastic waste issue.
The team at Ecoplastics Technology Limited (ETL), are very passionate in that we must educate the global population and understand there is no one way to solve this increasing issue but that we must embrace a multi-targeted solution to solve the plastic waste crisis. Recycling, reuse and lowering wasteful usage alongside social and behavioral change must be the answer and governments and business, both large and small must be responsible and involved in the clean-up efforts required, alongside a biochemistry solution.
Ecoplastics Technology Limited (ETL), working alongside our R&D department and scientists specialising in the field of polymers and in constant discussions with both recycling and environmental companies, have developed over the last few years, an effective and ease of use introduction into the manufacturing stream, an organic masterbatch for plastics, that enhances biodegradation in anaerobic landfills, with only natural biomass remaining.
ETL is a totally organic drop in technology solution for plastics that enhances the biodegradation process in an anaerobic landfill or digester. ETL can be added into any plastics, rubber, foam and synthetic fabrics, SAPs and in fact any polymer-based materials.
The specific types of bacteria needed to consume these polymer-based materials are prevalent in landfills, anaerobic digesters, ocean floors, and swamps and ditches. As long as these specific microbes are present, they will begin to consume the product; a process speeded up by the addition of ETL into the manufacturing process. An enzyme technology, this allows the polymer chains in plastic to be accessed through microbial action, resulting in enhanced biodegradation.
The test method used to determine the rate of anaerobic biodegradation found in such environments is the ASTM D5511 and the ASTM D5526-3. The ASTM D5511 is a Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials under High Solids Anaerobic Digestion Conditions and the ASTM D5526-3 is a “Standard Test Method for Determining Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Accelerated Landfill Conditions”.