When talking about biodegradable plastics, it is very important to understand the definition of the biodegradation process. This term has been grossly misused and misunderstood. By definition, plastics that fragment or degrade through chemical reactions, ultraviolet radiation and / or mechanical processes are not biodegradable. They are simply degradable and in most cases you get as a result, toxins, heavy metals like cadmium, nickel and cobalt, and residues of the polymer in the environment.
Plastics are hydrocarbons that come from crude oil, an organic compound which is natural and also 100% biodegradable thanks to oleo-physeal bacteria. However in the process of distillation of these, at high temperatures, the original organic nutrients are burned. In addition manufactured plastic products have been designed to be durable and in the case of packaging products, protect the items contained within. That is why traditional plastics take thousands of years for the microbes to decompose them into biogas and biomass.
Many of the advantages of plastic products become a disadvantage at the time we discard them. Although these plastics could be reused or recycled, a great majority of the time they are disposed of or discarded into the trash where they end up in landfill. Approximately 79% of all plastic every created ended up in landfills. Recycling is a challenge economically as well as physically. Plastic is mostly recycled one time and then down cycled into fabric or lumber where it is no longer recyclable. This is the major reason why most plastic ends up in landfill, even recycled plastics.
BDP™ accelerates the biodegradation of treated plastics in microbe-rich environments. It uses organic, carbon based ingredients to enable polymers to biodegrade like organic matter. Plastics treated with BDP™have unlimited shelf-life and are completely non-toxic.
After years of research, the Breakdown Technologies science team have been successful in developing a revolutionary organic additive designed for use in plastic, rubber, textile and foam. The difference between BDP™ treated plastic and traditional plastic is that BDP™ creates an opportunity for microbes to utilize plastic as food and energy and this accelerates biodegradation as the microbes consume the plastics. The end result is the same as organic matter; humus, CO2 and CH4 that can be captured to produce clean, cheap energy.
The following are lists of questions we have been asked and the answers to these questions:
Is Breakdown Technologies a company that sells products or additive?
Both. Breakdown Technologies manufactures a range of plastic products using our additive (BDP™)which is proven to increase biodegradation in an anaerobic landfill environment. We also work with companies to supply them with our proprietary additive to be used in their existing product lines. BDP can be used in Water bottles, Grocery and garbage bags, Food packaging, Drinking straws, Bottle caps, Cosmetic Packaging, Personal Care Products, Diapers, CDs, Eyeglasses, Thermal insulation foams, Car parts, Aerospace parts, Medical products, Automotive parts, Clothing & Fabric, Carpet, Coatings for paper and many more.
We also have our Breakdown Earth™ (BDE™) resin line (see BDE FAQ sheet) which is a sustainably sourced line of plant based and plant ‘waste’ resins that have a lower carbon footprint and solve different end-of-life scenarios for plastics. We can supply both resins and products with any and all of our resins and additive, as well as facilitate business relationships with factories and companies in many different fields. We are currently developing BDP to be used in SAP (super absorbent polymers). This is for use in medical, feminine hygiene and diaper products. Also in development is Breakdown Foam™. This is a landfill biodegradable EPS, or extruded polystyrene. (more commonly referred to as ‘styrofoam’)
What are the different types of mainstream plastic that BDP™ can be used in?
BDP™ additive can be used with virtually any petroleum based resin including but not limited to:
- PET (polyethylene terephthalate): plastic soft drink bottles, water bottles, mouthwash, etc.
- HDPE (high density polyethylene): milk, detergents, motor oils, toys, plastic bags, etc.
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride): food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, blister packaging, etc.
- LDPE (low density polyethylene): bread bags, food bags, bottles, clothing, furniture, carpet, etc
- PP (polypropylene): margarine and yogurt containers, caps for containers, etc.
- PS (polystyrene): egg cartons, fast food trays, disposable plastic silverware, etc.
- EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate): sandals, flexible packaging, foam, toys, padding, pool noodles.
- GPPS (general purpose polystyrene): disposable cutlery, hard packaging, and CD cases
- NYLON: clothing, instrument strings, auto parts, electrical coating, electronics, adhesives
- PC (Polycarbonate): safety goggles, plexiglass, bulletproof glass, and cell phone screens
What is the manufacturing process for using BDP™?
Using BDP™ in the manufacturing process is very easy to do. BDP™ is added via a standard commercial dry feeder (gravimetric feeder) just as you would add a colorant into the throat. It is loaded at .5%-4% by load weight (typically 1% is suggested for most plastics). The remaining process parameters should stay virtually the same. BDP™ is not designed to be run over 600F as this has not been tested and the results cannot be guaranteed. We are able to make custom formulations for any processes over 600F. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Does BDP have any special storage requirements?
Unlike Oxo or PLA, BDP™ does not have special storage requirements and should be handled in the same manner as any polymer resins. This includes always making sure to seal the unused portion of additive because it could be slightly hygroscopic. It is also a good idea to rotate the lot every six months to ensure good quality control. If a resin in hygroscopic, like PET, drying the material is advised.
Can BDP™ be custom engineered?
Yes. We can work closely with you to create a custom designed plastic additive. Our testing team will work with you to design and implement an additive that will work best with the plastic type you use. This includes bioplastics such as Green PE, PLA, etc.
Can BDP™ be used in laminated products or products that use multiple resin types?
Yes. All that is required is BDP™ be added into each of the plastic types or film layers. If the resin types require different formulations then the correct formulation must be incorporated into each layer. Example: A laminated Nylon / LLDPE film would require the BDP™ formulation for Nylon in the Nylon portion and the BDP™ formulation for Olefins in the LLDPE portion.
Do I need to incorporate BDP™ in all layers of a multi-layer-film?
Does BDP™ contain microbes?
No, BDP™ is an additive composed of organic compounds that attract microbes when placed into microbe rich environments. There are no enzymes or microbes within the BDP™ additive.
Does microbial digestion consume the entire polymer chain or just the BDP™ additive?
Independent testing shows that biodegradation is occurring on the entire polymer chain versus just consuming the BDP™ additive present in the treated plastic. ASTM biodegradation testing shows a much greater percentage of biodegradation as compared to the percentage load rate of additive which proves that the plastic itself, not just the BDP™, is biodegrading.
How is BDP™ molded into products?
There are many ways to process plastics, the main purpose being to convert plastic pellets into a useable product, i.e. bottles, film, fibres, toys and all other plastic products you use daily. The most common manufacturing processes are; extrusion and injection molding. Products made with BDP™are made the same way as the following traditional plastics. We just ‘drop in’ our additive like a colorant into a hopper at the throat of the manufacturing screw.
A heated plastic compound is forced continuously through a forming die made in the desired shape (like squeezing toothpaste from a tube, it produces a long, usually narrow, continuous product). The formed plastic cools under blown air or in a water bath and hardens on a moving belt. Rods, tubes, pipes, sheet and thin film (such as food wraps) are extruded then coiled or cut to desired lengths.
An extrusion process also makes plastic fibres. Liquid resin is squeezed through thousands of tiny holes called spinnerets to produce the fine threads from which plastic fabrics are woven.
This is the second most widely used process to form plastics. The plastic compound, heated to a semi -fluid state, is squirted into a mold under great pressure and hardens quickly. The mold then opens and the part is released. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary and is particularly suited to mass production methods. Injection moulding is used for a wide variety of plastic products, from small cups and toys to large objects weighing 30 pounds or more.
This is a secondary processing as it takes the injection-moulded part and pressure is used to form hollow objects, such as the soda pop bottle or two-gallon milk bottle, in a direct or indirect method. In the direct blow-molding method, a partially shaped, heated plastic form is inserted into a mold. Air is blown into the form, forcing it to expand to the shape of the mold. In the indirect method, a plastic sheet or special shape is heated then clamped between a die and a cover. Air is forced between the plastic and the cover and presses the material into the shape of the die.
Do products with BDP™ biodegrade when littered?
Our products are not designed to be a solution for litter. They are designed to naturally decompose in landfill, biodegrading in an anaerobic landfill environment. Having said that, we have done the ASTM D5988 soil test with favourable results and are doing more testing to further substantiate our claims that BDP™ products are still better for the open air environment than non-BDP™ products. Plastic can take anywhere from hundreds to thousands of years to biodegrade, so even a small increase in biodegradation is favourable, especially with BDP™, which leads to a natural end result. This is what we hope to achieve with BDP™.
What happens if BDP™ bag is thrown into a lake or the ocean? Have you tested this?
BDP™ products will have enhanced biodegradation in any biologically active, microbial environment where methanogenic bacteria are present. The ocean floor and swamps have high concentrations of methanogenic bacteria so we can only assume, based on the science behind BDP™ that there would be enhanced biodegradation of our plastics in these environments. Testing biodegradation in these environments is extremely difficult as there are no existing standard test methods for this technology in these environments.
Can BDP™ be used with barriers?
Yes. BDP™can be used with many common barrier materials. When using a barrier, it is important to ensure that all layers contain the proper load rate of BDP™.
Are products made with BDP™ compostable, biodegradable and recycleable? Isn't compostable the best option?
BDP™ products are ‘home’ compostable, meaning they are not compostable in a commercial compost facility. Home compost units are use a process called ‘anaerobic digestion’, meaning free of oxygen. The bacteria in an anaerobic environment are called ‘methanogens’ and these are only present in home compost conditions. BDP™ plastics were designed for this environment. Commercial compost facilities use heat, oxygen and water to break down compostable plastics which is not ideal for BDP™ products.
Compostable plastics are popular because they are made of 100% renewable materials, but there are many negative aspects to compostable plastics, like PLA. Compostable plastics do not breaking down in landfill. They must be deposited in commercial compost facilities (they will not biodegrade in home compost units like BDP™ products) of which there are very few. Breakdown plastics products can be tossed in the recycling bin, or if trashed, will naturally decompose in the landfill within a few years, which is a much better solution.
Why is BDP™ the best solution for "green" plastic initiatives?
The development of our materials marks a turning point for traditional plastics to a more earth-friendly plastic and provides a turnkey, stable solution over other products on the market today. Our science team works in partnership with innovators of sustainable materials as well as government organizations and non profit companies to bring these materials to the market. Our goal is to create a Gold Standard for plastics so that the Breakdown Technologies brand becomes recognized globally as truly sustainable products. BDP™ products maintain the same physical properties and strength as traditional plastics. Once manufactured, your products have an indefinite shelf life and are not affected by light, heat, moisture or stress. These attributes will last until the product is discarded into an active microbial environment (landfill), and will then break the plastic down, leaving behind only humus, Co2 and biogas. BDE™ products are sourced from sustainable sources, such as sugar cane bagasse, coffee grinds, straw and rice husk. They are designed for specific end-of-life scenarios so that we can offer our clients a solution for many plastic products.
The table below shows a comparison of BDP™ technology to other products that are currently available in the market.
|Shelf Life||Recyclable||Landfill Biodegration||Compost Biodegradation||Remnants|
|Breakdown||Indefinite||Yes||A few years*||Yes**||Biomass & CO2|
|Pet Resins||Indefinite||Yes||Never||Never||Plastic Resin|
|PLA Resins||1-6 Months||No||Seldom||3-6 mo. in compost facility||Biomass and Gases|
|Starch Resins||1-4 Months||No||Never||30-180 Days||CO2 and Biogas|
|Photodegradable||2-4 Months||No||Never||3 Months - 5 Years*||Cobalt, Cadmium, Other Toxic Resins|
|Oxo-Degradable||2-6 Months||No||Never||3 Months - 5 Years*||CO2, Biogas, Heavy Metals|
* Time requirement in which materials are disposed and the type, quantity, and quality of micro-organisms present. We tested PS coffee cup lids via ASTM D5511 and saw 8.44% biodegradation after 30 days.
** Home composte, anaerobic digester conditions. BDP does not comply with the ASTM D6400 because it takes longer than the required time frame. Comspot depends on the environment in which teh plastics are placed and testing is required to substantiate claims of compostability.
Can customers use "Regrind" containing BDP™?
However, it is recommended to implement quality control to ensure the approved amount of material is being loaded into the resin. Note: PLA users are unable to use PLA regrind and must send any waste back to manufacturer for processing and credit towards future orders.
Does BDP™ impart any taste or smell; is there any leaching associated with the product?
No, there is no taste, flavors, or smells imparted to plastics or rubbers that use BDP™ in their manufacturing process. Additionally, Independent 3rd party testing has shown no negative leaching results.
What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable plastics?
Biodegradable Plastic: When plastic (or any other material) degrades from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and algae. Biodegradation can occur in either aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen) environments. BDP™ products fall under the anaerobic category and are recyclable where the material is accepted.
Compostable Plastic:Capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost or aerobic environment to the point that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass. Compostable plastics are made up of renewable material and must be discarded in a commercial compost facility. They are not recyclable. PLA is the most common type of compostable plastic. Here are some facts about PLA:
- Breaks down using heat and it begins to decompose as soon as it is manufactured.
- Requires cold storage in transport. This is to keep the material from sticking together, a common problem with PLA
- Cost up to 150% more than petroleum based plastics.
- Cannot be used in standard molding machinery because PLA cannot withstand high heat.
- The PLA production process is slower, making it hard for companies to justify this added machine time.
What is the difference between BDP™ and Oxo-Degradable plastic?
BDP™ is not the same as Oxo-Degradable. Oxo-degradable products are "degradable" and may never fully disappear.
Oxo products are becoming more scrutinized and increasingly less accepted. They are also being banned all over the world because they have been proven to create harmful microplastics. Oxo degradable additive is lower in cost but often must be loaded at a rate up to 8%. They are not recyclable.
Following are some of the reasons oxo is being banned:
- Oxo products are often composed of heavy metals (some countries refer to them as light metals) which are very harmful for the environment. Depending on the additive they basically use cadmium or cobalt to help disintegrate the plastic. BDP™ is Non-toxic and actually helps the environment. The final product left behind with BDP™ is Humus and Methane (Bio-Mass and Bio-gas). The humus can be used as new soil to grow plants and the methane may be harvested into fuel.
- The first process which is considered to be Photodegredation or Oxidization, is not biodegradation. Even after these parts Oxidize, the remaining chemicals that cause this reaction are left in the environment. This is still not biodegradation. Many groups have done studies to show oxidized products remain, being reduced to smaller and smaller polymer forms. Even though the microbes are secreting acids to reduce the total Molecular Weight of the polymer chain, these products are still leaving the chain behind in the ground.
- Oxo products lose tensile strength and performance on the shelf. They often begin degrading before the product life is through. Special calculations for each product must be done to produce a product that will not begin biodegrading too soon. Often times the product begins degradation sooner than anticipated. BDP™ will not be affected by light, heat, moisture, temperature or mechanical stress. Products made with BDP have an indefinite shelf life and will not begin biodegrading until it is in an active microbial environment. Durability testing has been performed on products made with BDP™ and the products made with our additive actually enhance durability. Our product is fantastic for durable good applications as well as disposable. It has even been run in durability tests with oxidizing agents and surfactants and there was no performance loss.
Now, many oxo products are putting UV and heat inhibitors in them so they may have a longer shelf life. This also poses problems. For example say the shelf life is designed for 2 year of performance. If this product ends up in a landfill (before the two year mark for UV inhibitors) it will remain indefinitely. Also, oxo products will not degrade anaerobically, so if these products end up in a landfill they will not break down because there is no light, heat and oxygen to do so.
Does BDP™ cause plastic break down into particles that toxify ground and water?
BDP™ does not cause the same reaction in plastic as oxo degradable. Oxo degradable additive adds metal salts to the plastic product that cause the plastic to fragment, polluting the ground and water. BDP™ additive is organic, containing no metals or toxins and it enhances microbial activity in an anaerobic landfill. In nature, microbes consume all matter, eventually. A natural by product of this consumption is CO2 Humus and methane. These are the same by-products of plastic treated with BDP™. Basically, what naturally happens over hundreds of years will now take a few years with BDP™ additive, without affecting the ground or water negatively. We have tested BDP™ product via ASTM E1963 which is a soil toxicity test and the product showed no signs of plastic particulates in the soil.
Do traditional plastics biodegrade?
Plastics have been designed for their physical properties, strength and durability. Most plastics contain carbon atoms linked into long chains. Although carbon is a great nutrient source for microorganisms, the long chains make it difficult to be metabolized. Biodegradation of these plastics can be accelerated through the use of BDP™ technology.
How does Breakdown Plastic accelerate the biodegradation of traditional plastics?
Once exposed to enzymes that act as catalysts found in landfills and other naturally created chemicals, the microorganisms will penetrate the polymer chains within BDP™ treated products. The microbes attract other microbes by releasing chemical signals, similar to ants finding a food source and leaving behind a trail for other ants to follow. Collectively, they feast on the polymer chains, breaking down the chemical bonds that hold the plastic together. The result is plastic being consumed by microbes and the microbes excreting the same waste as organic matter, which is CO2, CH4 and Humus (biomass).
How long does it take for plastic treated with BDP™ to biodegrade?
The reality is that, unless it has been incinerated, almost every piece of plastic ever created still exists. Why? Because it was designed to last forever. One can expect that, left on its own, plastic may possibly biodegrade in hundreds up to thousands of years. Plastics treated with BDP™ will have enhanced biodegradation in microbe rich disposal environments and take far less time to biodegrade compared to untreated plastics. The actual rate depends on the plastic itself and the disposal environment conditions.
Independent ASTM, ISO or other laboratory tests can be conducted to provide results specific to your plastic products with BDP™ incorporated. We can also provide results for testing reports we have for various plastic types. We are constantly testing product in collaboration with our clients and have results for a little as 30 day tests up to 1,700+ days testing results.
What prevents plastics enhanced with BDP™ from degrading while in storage or on the shelf?
Products made with BDP™ require an active microbial environment (such as a landfill) for biodegradation. Warehouses, offices, store shelves, etc. are not considered such environments. The microbes required to consume plastics made with BDP™ are readily found in waste areas (compost environments, landfills, lakes, oceans, side of road, etc).
Will active microbes in food (meat, cheese, etc.) start the biodegradation process in storage?
No. BDP™ attracts methanogenic bacteria and microorganisms that are present in landfills. The active microbes in food and dairy products are not the ‘super’ colony of microbes you find in landfills, soil, composting sites or waste water sludge plants. Methanogens are only found in these conditions and not in food products.
Do the microbes consume just the BDP™ or teh whole plastic polymer chain?
Tests have been completed to show that biodegradation is occurring on the entire polymer chain vs. just consuming the BDP™ additive. ASTM biodegradation testing shows a much greater percentage of biodegradation as compared to the percentage load rate of additive which proves that the plastic itself, not just the BDP™, is biodegrading.
How long does it take for BDP™ products to biodegrade?
There are a number of factors, which contribute to the length of time required to fully biodegrade. These include the surface area of the plastic, its mass and thickness, the microbial activity in the landfill, the amount or lack of oxygen, and most importantly, moisture levels. Biodegradation occurs in all landfills at varying rates. BDP™ accelerates the natural biodegradation of plastics in biologically active landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent, certified laboratories using internationally recognized test methods. Additionally, independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. The actual rate of biodegradation will always vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic.
What tests validate biodegradation of Breakdown Plastic products in landfills?
The ASTM D5511 Test Method is a test used to determine the rate of biodegradation of plastic products in an anaerobic environment. Breakdown Technologies Inc. has independent 3rd party testing and can furnish testing results up on request.
Details on the ASTM D5511 test:
The method calls for plastic samples to be placed in sealed fermentation vessels filled with a required amount of inoculum derived from a mix of composted solids and active waste water treatment plant sludge. For each sample the test is run in triplicate and compared to a positive control, a negative control, and an innoculum control. The fermentation vessels are connected to collection devices that measure waste gas produced by bacterial metabolic processes.
This collected gas is regularly sampled and placed in a gas chromatograph instrument for highly accurate composition analysis. The test method calls for Methane (CH4) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels to be carefully measured and recorded, as these are carbonaceous gasses commonly produced as waste by-products during the process of biodegradation. At the end of the test the exact carbon-weight of the gasses collected is calculated and recorded.
Accurately measuring biodegradation is an extremely difficult task. Biodegradation is a complex system of microbial metabolic processes that involve many species of bacteria producing many by-products, which are in turn utilized, by other bacteria involved in the system. Other ASTM tests, including the D5338, a composting test, use the same process of recovering carbonaceous gas to determine percent biodegradation of test samples. The D-5511 test was designed by the American Society of Testing and Measurements (ASTM) and is widely utilized around the globe to detect evidence of the biodegradation of plastic substances.
Which ASTM biodegradable testing standards have verified the performance of BDP™?
BDP™ accelerates the biodegradation of plastics in landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent certified laboratories using ASTM International test methods (ASTM D5511). Independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. Actual rate of biodegradation will vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic. The customary disposal method of plastics is either recycling or landfill disposable, therefore the most applicable test methods would be for anaerobic (landfill) conditions. Breakdown Plastic™ tests its enhanced plastics under the scrutiny of ASTM D5511, which are standard test methods for determining anaerobic biodegradation of plastic materials.
Can BDP™ be used for food and drink contact applications? Is it FDA compliant?
Yes. BDP™ meets the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDA) requirements of Title 21 part 177 (polymers for use as components of single or repeated use food contact surfaces) of the United States Code of Regulations and are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).
In addition, Keller and Heckman, a large FDA verification firm, has looked at the formulation and validated Breakdown Plastic additive to meet all the FDA requirements and have provided a short letter to confirm the verification for up to a 4% loading of BDP™.
Will products made with BDP™ comply with the European Standard EN 13432?
No. EN13432 is a regulation designed to protect the integrity of industrial composting. Very rapid degradation of the products is required to be converted mainly to CO2. Even cut grass does not comply with this regulation. This is similar in scope to ASTM D6400 Standard.
Are Breakdown Plastic products recyclable?
Currently there are no recognized standard certification programs for recyclability. A number of independent laboratories have been provided with samples of plastic made with BDP™ and these samples were then subjected to various testing methods to determine if BDP™-treated products are suitable for recycling or contaminate recycling streams. These tests indicated that BDP™ does not affect the recyclability of treated products.
What recyclability tests have been performed on BDP™ products?
The following tests have been performed on PET bottles treated with BDP™ to verify recyclability. These are standard tests used to determine the quality of PET plastic regrind. These tests are suggested as part of the American Post-consumer Recycling Critical Guidance document. • Haze and Transmission via ASTM D 1003B • Intrinsic Viscosity via ASTM D 4603 • Acetaldehyde via ASTM F 2013 • Fluorescence Visual Visual Black Specks and Gel.
Is BDP™ harmful to the environment or people? Are their cancer causing compounds?
No. BDP™ is 100% organic and is comprised of non toxic raw materials, which are independently approved for direct contact with food. All of the organic compounds contained in BDP™ are considered safe for food contact and have no known adverse health effects. The compounds are also not found on the toxic and potentially harmful substance list of CA Prop 65 and are also REACH approved. This State of California legislation identifies certain toxic and potentially harmful substances and provides limitations for their use. No products used in BDP™ are listed in Prop 65. BDP™ also complies with other domestic and international requirements for absence of toxic and other potentially harmful substances. BDP™ is FDA Title 21 part 177 (polymers for use as components of single or repeated use food contact surfaces) , CFIA, EC 1935- 2004 and EU 10-2011 compliant for food contact. Fully compliant with EU REACH regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 and verified through a certified third-party lab that BDP™ does not contain any Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). Compliant with RoHS Directive 2011/65/EC. It is also compliant with many other international and industry specific regulations regarding Heavy Metals, BPA’s, etc.
If you have a specific requirement for BDP™ safety and compliances, please contact us for appropriate documentation.
What makes up the left over biomass after BDP plastics breakdown?
Biomass is essentially organic matter similar to soil or dirt. There are no toxic products within that biomass and what remains is basically microbial poop.
What kind of bacteria feed off of BDP™ in plastics?
There are several types of bacteria found in all landfills globally. Methanogens are the most common and are the target bacteria for BDP™ active ingredient.
There are 50 species of methanogenic bacteria and these bacteria live in anoxic, or anaerobic, conditions which are the same conditions as landfills. BDP™ additive attracts these bacteria but also any other bacteria that survives in anaerobic conditions. All landfills have bacteria and will aid in the biodegradation of BDP™ plastics. Landfill conditions will vary from country to country and province to province, depending on the amount of rainfall and temperature. Just like organic material, BDP™ plastics will have a higher rate of biodegradation in a wetter warmer climate.
What are the benefits of depositing BDP™ products in a landfill?
Breakdown Plastic products reduce the long-term impact on landfill in several ways:
Reducing the bulk of plastic waste allows for more effective utilization of diminishing landfill space.
Landfill environments are anaerobic in nature and lead to CH4 (methane) offgassing. CH4 can be reclaimed as a source for clean, inexpensive energy. The Clean Air Act requires all landfills to reclaim methane and other Green House Gasses (GHG), which are to be burned or used to create energy. 85% of landfills in the U.S. collect methane for energy. GM harnesses landfill-gas-to-energy for its 2.08-million square-foot facility reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 5,000 tons a year! Tammy Giroux, manager of government relations for GM said, “(It’s) good for the environment, good for business and good for the community.” Waste Management’s landfill-gas-to-energy facilities power the equivalent of 470,000 households, offsetting 2.5 million tons of coal and 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Using methane from landfills is the most inexpensive form of “green” energy available at this time. It is even cheaper than solar, hydro, wind and alternative fuels. Corporations and government entities utilize methane in fulfilling sustainability goals. When looking at landfills as a source of energy, it really makes you think about the negative stigma attached to them.
If we could look at things like methane as fuel, it is possible that converting plastic, using BDP™, into biomass and methane for energy is a better end of life than a worthless fork or plastic bag. Food for thought.
Is legal to label a product as "Biodegradable" in the state of California
A: California law prohibits the labeling of any plastic products that do not meet its requirements for "compostable" or "marine degradable." The state prohibits the sale of plastic bags or food and beverage containers that are labeled with the terms "biodegradable," "degradable," or "decomposable," or any form of those terms. Furthermore, brands cannot imply, in any way, that a bag or container will break down, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment. Beginning in January 2013, this law will apply to all plastic products sold in or into California. See link to the California Public Resource Code: While there are provisions in the law for reviewing additional ASTM standards for biodegradable, currently an ASTM Standard Specification for Biodegradability in environments other than composting are not completed for state adoption. Breakdown Plastic™ recommends complying with all federal, state and local laws.
What is BDP™ made of?
BDP™ is a proprietary and patented blend of organic ingredients proven to enhance the rate of plastic biodegradation in an anaerobic environment. BDP™ comes in pellet and powder form and is offered in multiple carrier resins.
When plastic breaks down, it emits methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Does Breakdown Plastic™ emit methane when it biodegrades? What happens to the methane?
Yes, Breakdown Plastic™ does emit methane and CO2, which is a natural process of any material biodegrading. Landfill biogas emissions are on the smaller end of the scale. We would have to deposit millions of tonnes of Breakdown Plastic into landfills to create a minimal effect on biogas production.
The gases produced within a landfill can be collected and used in various ways. The landfill gas can be utilized directly on site by a boiler or any type of combustion system, providing heat. Electricity can also be generated on site through the use of micro turbines, steam turbines, or fuel cells. The landfill gas can also be sold off site and sent into natural gas pipelines or used to fuel vehicles, cooking stoves and facilities. See https://www.slc.or.kr/design/eng/index_eng.asp for an example of a bioreactor landfill facility. We visited this landfill site in July 2016 and were incredibly impressed by the amount of clean fuel that was generated from landfill gas.
Do you have some stats on plastic waste in the world? How bad is it?
See link below of a recent study on all plastic produced globally since plastic was first invented. 79% of all plastic ends up out of 8.3 billion metric tonnes produced. This one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on the production and disposal of plastics. University of Georgia did a follow up study referencing the work provided in the journal, ‘Science Advances’.
University of Georgia article
Here are some interesting facts about plastic waste in 2014, as sourced from ecowatch.com
- In one week, we go through 1 Trillion plastic bags worldwide.
- Of the 1 Trillion bags produced, 90% are trashed and only .3% - 5% are recycled
- In one year, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags per year.
- Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
- 32 million tones of plastic waste are generated each year. This is 12.7% of the total municipal waste. (EPA source)
- 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
- Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
- We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
- The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
- Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
- The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bio plastics are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
- Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
- Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments, that pieces of plastic from a one-litre bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
- Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
- It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
- Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
- Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body - 93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).
What percentage of garbage in landfills is plastic?
See the chart below.