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11-28-2013

Organic Waste Bags Made from Ecovio FS

Decay on demand

The small seedling symbol indicates that this bag is made of a compostable polymer. Not only that, it was also made from bio-based raw materials (figure: BASF)

When the organic waste bin in the kitchen is full, it needs to be taken – usually dripping, stinking and full of semi-decomposed waste – to the trash can. For this purpose, BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany, has developed organic waste bags made from ecovio FS, a compostable polymer. The bags make collecting and disposing of organic waste cleaner, less complicated and more hygienic. Unpleasant odors and pest infestations are prevented. This eliminates the hassle of scrubbing the bin in the kitchen, because the very good wet strength of the bags prevents liquid from teabags or fruit residues from leaking through. The bag remains intact.

The material consists of the partially bio-based ecoflex FS and polylactic acid (PLA). Thanks to this combination, the bags consist primarily of renewable raw materials. Like the biodegradable waste itself, the organic bags are completely broken down by microorganisms with the aid of enzymes. The decisive factor for this degradation process is only the structure of the molecules, not the origin of the raw materials.

At the end of the composting process, the microorganisms have completely converted the bags into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. According to the manufacturer, this is a crucial advantage when it comes to organic waste recovery, since waste management companies do not have to segregate the bags laboriously. These are processed into valuable compost together with the rest of the organic waste. The bags can help reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in the regular garbage cans, contribute to protecting the environment and also lower the disposal costs for residual waste.

The bags are not suitable for disposal on backyard compost piles. Industrial composting installations, however, offer the conditions needed to ensure residue-free decomposition. Thus, the public works department of the city of Ludwigshafen, in coordination with the waste management company GML-Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft, has approved the use of organic waste bags made of ecovio for disposal in the organic waste bins.

A comprehensive series of tests conducted by BASF at the organic composting plant in Grünstadt, Germany, at the end of 2009 demonstrated that the bags are ideal for the short cycle times of professional composting installations. Pilot projects involving the organic waste bags in approximately 65,000 households in the district of Bad Dürkheim in 2011 and just under 25,000 households in Berlin in 2012 were also positive. The districts of Rhine-Pfalz and Ennepe-Ruhr also permit the use of ecovio organic waste bags as well. In Bad Dürkheim, about 90 % of the residents interviewed were satisfied with these bags for the collection of organic waste; in Berlin the figure was 80 %.

The seedling symbol that appears on the bags indicates that the statutory requirements of European standard EN 13432 are met which defines the requirements for recycling through composting and biodegradation.

Two dates are important for organic waste management in Germany, according to the manufacturer. German lawmakers have authorized that, from early January 2013, organic waste bags that are completely biodegradable and also consist primarily of renewable raw materials may be disposed of in the organic waste garbage bins together with the organic waste. Moreover, the amendment to the German Recycling Law requires separate collection of organic waste throughout Germany as of January 2015.

Company profile

BASF SE

Carl-Bosch-Str. 38
DE 67056 Ludwigshafen
Tel.: 0621 60-0
Fax: 0621 60-42525

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