Tesco adopts 100% degradable plastic bags
This series of photos shows the stages of degradation possible using EPI degradable additives. UK supermarket giant Tesco has decided to use plastic carrier bags containing additives which can make the plastic material degrade more quickly. The additives have been produced by additives supplier EPI Environmental Products, which manufactures oxobiodegradable chemicals for plastics. Products using EPI's TDPA® (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives) technology can degrade in as little as 60 days, leaving no harmful residues, Tesco reports.
EPI says that the additives, which are polymer-based, can be added in dry solid pellet form to commodity plastic resins such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polystyrene (PS) and their co-polymers during conventional manufacturing processes. The additives have both US Food & Drug Administration and EU Scientific Committee on Food approvals allowing their use in food packaging applications, as well as cups, cutlery and rubbish bags.
TDPA work by speeding up the oxidative degradation process by which large plastic molecules are broken down into much smaller fragments. This process is usually triggered by heat, UV light (sunlight) and mechanical stress. Once the molecules have been broken down, the biodegradable process starts, and the material is absorbed by micro-organisms. At the end of the process only water, carbon dioxide, trace mineral salts and biomass (micro-organism cells) remain. EPI claims that, as well as speeding up the process, TDPA technology can give manufacturers more control over when the material starts to degrade, ensuring that the process only starts when the product has been discarded, whether in landfill sites or as compost. Tesco says that for the last six months they have been trialing the new bags in stores throughout the South East of
England, UK and will be supplying them to all outlets in 2005. EPI chairman and chief executive, Joseph G Gho, says that Tesco has asked EPI to work with the supermarket's food suppliers to see if TDPA could be used in their plastic packaging. Contact: EPI Environmental Products Tel: +1 604 738 6281 Fax: +1 604 738 7839 E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.epi-global.com Tesco Website: www.tesco.com
The plastic bag in its final stage of degradation.
Milliken launches products for clear DVD market Milliken Chemical has introduced a number of clarifying agents, colorants and propriety packaging options for the clear DVD packaging market. It has developed Millad 3988, a third generation of Millad, a clarifying agent for polypropylene (PP) which Milliken says can add strength and rigidity, including resistance to warpage. In addition, Milliken Packaging
Designs offers proprietary clear DVD packaging designs that incorporate ideas for thinner packaging, increasing storage spaces and making the DVD covers more aesthetically pleasing. Finally, Milliken ClearTint has been introduced, a colorant which is said to give plastic products bright, clean, transparent colours. Dr. Raj Batlaw, a market manager for Milliken Chemical, says that the DVD market may
Plastics Additives & Compounding July/August 2004
move towards using clear packaging because of lower cost benefits. "With traditional opaque packaging, an outside plastic sleeve is required to house a graphic paper insert and a separate booklet is put inside the box to display chapter information," he says. "With clear packaging, the paper insert inside the sleeve can be printed on both sides, allowing chapters to be displayed on the inside surface of the insert, thus
eliminating the need for a booklet." He adds that because the disc can be seen through the packaging, security is increased. The company claims that using colorants for clear and opaque packaging can increase brand presence through using a pigment matching the colour of the DVD feature's brand. Contact: Milliken Chemical website: www.millikenchemical.com