What is EPI?
EPIis the proponent and leader of oxo-biodegradable plastic additive technology.
EPImanufactures and uses custom compounders that are ISO 9000 certified in the
Howdoes Oxo Biodegradable Plastic Work?
Thechemical degradation process involves the reaction of very large polymermolecules of plastics, which contain only carbon and hydrogen, with oxygen inthe air. This reaction occurs even without prodegradant additives but at a veryslow rate. That is why conventional plastics, when discarded, persist for along time in the environment. EPI’s TDPA™ formulations catalyze or acceleratethis reaction and increase the rate of the degradation by several orders ofmagnitude – i.e. 100’s to 1000’s of times faster, making TDPA™ incorporatedproducts degrade and physically disintegrate within a few weeks to 1-2 years,depending on the formulation and the disposal environment. To illustrate, aTDPA™ incorporated plastic bag and a conventional plastic bag were hung on thefence and the difference in degradation rates was observed in the degradation test.
The lower molecular weight fragments are known to , and have beenshown, in laboratory simulated composts, to biodegrade into carbon dioxide,water and biomass(cell structure of micro-organisms), which are materials foundin nature and part of the biocycle. Commercially available LDPE filmsincorporating TDPA™have been shown to convert 60% of their carbon backbone into carbon dioxide in1.5-2 years with most of the balance of the carbon remaining as micro-organismcells. Unmodified films
Wouldtake much longer to achieve this.
Thechemistry described above has been well known to polymer scientists for years.Indeed manufacturers of polymer resins routinely add antioxidant chemicals totheir products to prevent any oxidation during thermal processing intoproducts. EPI’s contribution lies in its ability to manage these processes in apredictable way- to balance the effect of its catalytic additives with theeffect of contained antioxidants in order to make products that satisfy needsfor adequate shelf and service lives while providing degradation/biodegradationrates suitable for the final disposal environment.
A useful feature of catalyzedoxo-degradation chemistry is that, as long as there is any residual antioxidantin the plastic, the catalytic additive has absolutely no effect. Theseantioxidants are slowly consumed as they do their job. This fact is importantin designing shelf and service life of TDPA™ incorporatedproducts and allow these products to be safely recycled in existing recyclestreams prior to them exhibiting visual signs of degradation-brittleness ordisintegration. Other practical features of the technology are that it isapplied to the most common commercially available and used polymers and doesnot affect the processability or the other properties of these polymers.
Theoverall process, from polymer to water, carbon dioxide and biomass is calledoxo-biodegradation. EPI is the pioneer and world’s leading practitioner ofoxo-biodegradable technology and has the experience and technical knowledge todesign additive systems for polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene to meetwidely varying needs for shelf and service life and degradation performance ina range of disposal medium and situations.
Benefits & Features of Oxo biodegradable Plastics
Oxo biodegradable plastics incorporating TDPA™ provides the followingbenefits and features:
The shelf life and service life of degradable and biodegradable plasticproducts incorporating TDPA™ can be customized based on customer requirementsranging from a few months to years depending on the type and amount of TDPA™added to the plastic resin.
EPI’s degradable plastic additive technology is applied to conventionalcommodity plastics and is processed using almost identical conditions as isrequired for the unmodified resins.
Degradable products incorporating TDPA™ have similar physical properties andare indistinguishable in look and performance from regular products prior tothe onset of degradation.
The cost of TDPA™ incorporated products is only a few percentage higher thanthe unmodified ones and far less expensive than products using other degradableand biodegradable technologies.
Products incorporating TDPA™ additives, prior to the onset of degradation, canbe reused and are compatible with existing recycling streams during postproduction or at post consumer level.
How does EPI ensurequality?
EPI’soperates a specialized laboratory that performs a variety of chemical, physicaland mechanical tests using standard ASTM test methods on products manufacturedwith TDPA™ formulations. This ensures that customers receiveoptimum formulations that perform as specified. Typically, disposal conditionsare simulated in QUV weather accelerating equipment and aging ovens and samplesfrom these are tested using plastometers, tensile testing equipment and FourierTransform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR).