4 April 2017

IK critical of oxo-degradable plastics

Fragmentation of products made of "oxo-degradable plastics" can exacerbate the current problem concerning the entry of "micro-plastics" into waterways and seas

The German Association for Plastic Packaging and Films (IK) has taken a critical stance towards “oxo-degradable plastics” by publishing “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about oxo-degradable plastics“.

The background to this publication not only stems from media reports but also numerous enquiries from IK member companies and also from customers of the plastics packaging sector. The topic is also of international importance as there is already a legal ban on oxo-degradable plastics in France for example.

The IK intends to bring about a rational debate on this matter by presenting the key facts. For example, the FAQs point out that “oxo-degradable plastics” do not meet the requirements of complete biodegradability. The IK’s Bioplastics working group believes that the terms “oxo-fragmentable” or “thermo-” or “photo-fragmentable plastics” are more appropriate terms as these materials are not completely degradable but break down to visible or invisible small fragments of plastics.

The IK is also making the public aware that the fragmentation of products made of “oxo-degradable plastics” can exacerbate the current problem concerning the entry of “micro-plastics” into waterways and seas. Recycling is also adversely affected by “oxo-degradable plastics”.

The FAQs were developed in the IK’s Bioplastics working group which basically handles all matters concerning packaging and films made from bioplastics.

Source: IK Kunststoffverpackungen, press release, 2017-03-09.

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