C-Line Biodegradable Products FAQs
Here are our most frequently asked questions about C-Line's products made with EcoPure.
- How is biodegradable defined?
- What happens when a biodegradable product is buried in a landfill (anaerobic conditions)?
- How long does it take to break down?
- What test method do you use to be sure they are biodegradable?
- What were the test results for products made with EcoPure?
- How are the products made biodegradable?
- I need products that are going to last. Will the products start to degrade before they are disposed of?
- What is composting?
- Are the products compostable?
- Is the product made from renewable ingredients like corn?
- Are the products safe?
The EPA Terms of Environment Glossary defines biodegradable as, "Capable of decomposing under natural conditions."
When buried in an anaerobic landfill, this product begins to biodegrade almost immediately.
The timeframe depends on environmental conditions, but the newest 2011 revision to the ASTM standard does not permit official results to be extrapolated from the test. Our test results are listed below.
ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials), one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world and a trusted source for technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services, has developed a standard test method for determining anaerobic (without oxygen) biodegradation of plastic materials under high-solids anaerobic-digestion conditions (in landfill conditions). It is Standard D5511. Our lab test results for ASTM D5511 for film made with the additive used for our biodegradable products are shown below.
C-Line sheet protectors treated with EcoPure (04907) exhibit a 9.13% weight loss after 90 days at 52 ±2° Celsius while untreated products showed virtually no weight loss. Specifically, the treated sample showed 1.953 Grams of Gaseous Carbon Recovered out of 21.4 Theoritical Grams while the untreated sample showed 0.005 Grams of Gaseous Carbon Recovered out of 21.4 Theoritical Grams.
Tests are generally conducted using 20% to 30% solids content; solids content in naturally wetter landfills range from 55% to 65%, while the driest landfills may reach 93%. Actual biodegradation rates will vary in biologically-active landfills according to the type of plastic used, the product configuration, and the solid content, temperature and moisture levels of the landfill.
At the time of manufacture we add EcoPure, an organic compound, to the plastic resin. EcoPure expands the molecular structure of the plastic, scissoring the polymer chain and adding in nutrients and other organic compounds that weaken the polymer chain for microbial action to colonize in and around the plastic. These microbes then secrete acids which break down the entire polymer chain. EcoPure produces a biodegradable end product that will have indefinite shelf life until placed in an active microbial environment, such as a landfill.
No. In order to biodegrade, the product needs to be in constant contact with other biodegrading material like that found in a landfill. It will not degrade in warehouses, shelves, offices or homes.
The EPA Terms of Environment Glossary defines composting as, "The controlled biological decomposition of organic material in the presence of air to form a humus-like material. Controlled methods of composting include mechanical mixing and aerating, ventilating the materials by dropping them through a vertical series of aerated chambers, or placing the compost in piles out in the open air and mixing it or turning it periodically."
Under the ASTM standard for commercial composting conditions using high heat processes, a time frame of around one year is a reasonable expectation for decomposing. For non-commercial composting a reasonable expectation is two to five years. The product has not been tested to meet ASTM D6400-04 which requires that it break down in 180 days so we do not market it as compostable. At this time commercial composting is not generally used in the United States and plastic products that are disposed of almost always end up in a landfill, so biodegradability is the more important test.
No. While plastic made entirely from corn (polylactic acid or pla), is used for some products, it has not been a good material for producing long-lasting products that will not start degrading on their own in high heat and humidity.
The products are safe. In fact, food packaging film made with EcoPure is FDA compliant for food contact applications.