The Technology

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children"


Plastic is a fundamental part of our busy lives. Not many people know that plastic is made from a by-product of oil which used to be wasted and that it makes good environmental sense to use it. Ordinary plastics can be re-used and recycled -- however if they get into the environment they can last for many decades. The solution is add addivitive when the plastic product is being manufactured - making it "oxo-biodegradable" or "oxo-bio" for short.

Oxo-bio plastic will degrade, then biodegrade, to water, biomass and trace elements, on land or sea, in the light or dark, in heat or cold, in whatever timescale is required. It leaves NO fragments NO methane and NO harmful resources. There is little or no extra cost and during its service-life strength and other qualities are the same as ordinary plastic.

Oxo-bio is a low-cost insurance against the accumulation of plastic waste in the environment.

How does it work? The additive lowers the molecular weight, causing the plastic to degrade, then biodegrade. Stabilizers control the service life. For example, a refuse sack might need an 18-month life before beginning to lose its strength but a bread-bag might only require a few months.

Significantly, oxo-biodegradable plastics do not need a highly-microbial environment to degrade - this will happen even if the plastic is left in the open air or in the sea! For this reason in particular, 'oxo-bio' plastic is preferable to 'hydro-degradable' e.g. starch-based plastic, which requires an active bio-environment before degradation will work.

Comprehensively tested and proven. Oxo-biodegradable plastics have been extensively tested by RAPPA Technology. Europe's leading independent plastics research establishment and by other specialists around the world. They can pass all the tests prescribed by American Standard 6954094 for "Plastics that Degrade in the Environment by a Combination of Oxidation and Biodegradation." Product development is on-going and confirmation of degradability of our customers' products is included in routine quality-control procedures.

Certified food safe. The additives are suitable for direct food-contact, in compliance with EU Directive 2002/72 as amended and US FDA Code of Federal Regulations Chapter 12. Independent food-contact regularity assessments of oxo-bio have been undertaken by Smithers/RAPRA.

Environmentally safe. Oxo-biodegradable addtive has been successfully tested in compost by government-accredited laboratories for soil safety and eco-toxicity. These tests demonstrated that the additive did not have any toxic effects and that it is totally soil safe.

Waste management systems. In landfill oxo-biodegradable plastic will continue to degrade while oxygen is present. Oxo-bio will not emit methane even under anaerobic conditions (unlike hydro-biodegradable plastic, paper, cotton, etc.). This is important because methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more harmful than CO². Oxo-bio can be incinerated for energy-recovery and trials are ongoing to demonstrate compostability of oxo-bio products in industrial composting systems.

Life cycle cost is low. Oxo-bio plastics are made from a by-product of oil (comprising less than 5% of the oil barrel), which used to be wasted by flare-off. They are also lighter and less bulky than paper, glass, or other alternatives. This makes the life-cycle cost very low especially when compared to the use of fertilizers and machinery to grow crops to make hydro-biodegradable plastic alternatives, or the huge amounts of energy consumed in making and transporting glass and paper. In addition, the use of oxo-bio plastic avoids usage of land and water resources which drives up the cost of food for people and livestock.



The will degrade in any outdoor or indoor environment. This is very
important factor in relation to litter, because a large amount of plastic waste on land and at sea cannot be collected and buried.



They can be 'programmed' at manufacture
to degrade within a timescale to suit the user's requirements.



They are probably the
lowest cost environmentally targeted technology.



They can, in principle, be
be recycled and can be made from recyclate



Specific formulations can be
composted in appropriate conditions, and because the carbon is released more slowly fom oxo-biodegradable plastic, some carbon can become a food resource for growing micro organisms



Barrier properties -- which are
critical in food packaging -- are maintained and bags from oxo-biodegradables have the same barrier properties as conventional plastics.



They are safe for direct
food contact and safe in soil.



They involve no compromise
in their properties when compared to convetional plastics.