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Francesco Degli Innocenti
Environmental and sustainability Affairs

2nd Congress on Biodegradable Polymer Packaging Milan (Italy), 10-11 May 2012

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  1. 1. THE ROLE OF STANDARDISATION IN THE FIELD OF BIODEGRADABLE MATERIALS Francesco Degli Innocenti Environmental and sustainability Affairs NOVAMONT S.p.A. 2nd Congress on Biodegradable Polymer Packaging Milan (Italy), 10-11 May 2012 1
  2. 2. Short historical notes• The first discussion on the criteria for biodegradable plastics and packaging was developed by the Organic Reclamation and Composting Association (ORCA)1.• Similar discussion and test activities were carried out in the USA, at the ASTM Institute for Standards Research, within the Degradable Polymers Research Program from 1991 through 19962• 1. The ORCA’s Guidelines for the evaluation of feedstock for source separated biowaste composting and biogasification (Lemmes, 1994).• 2. “ASTM-ISR Degradable Polymeric Materials Program” (ASTM/ISR , 1996). 2
  3. 3. • The work was then developed and finalised by ASTM D20.96 and by CEN TC 261 SC4 WG2 (packaging and the Environment)• More recent is the ISO 17088 Specifications for compostable plastics. 3
  4. 4. The European legal framework in Europe in the field of packaging• Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste• 20 December 1994• (Official Journal L 365 , 31/12/1994 p. 0010 – 0023) 4
  5. 5. • The European Directive • The meaning of on Packaging and “biodegradable” can be Packaging waste very different in different 94/62/EC had a very contexts but, thanks to the important role because it Directive, it is clear what clarified the meaning of a “biodegradable “biodegradation”, packaging” is. “organic recycling”, “composting” when applied to packaging. 5
  6. 6. • The question of biodegradability is complex and can give rise to significant debates. Key points are• where (environment)• how fast (time scale)• how much (final level)• At academic level even traditional ‘non-biodegradable’ plastics can be shown to biodegrade, over a very long period of time.• However, such biodegradation rates are clearly unsuited to the needs of society. 6
  7. 7. • Biodegradable materials are an attempt to find solutions to a problem of our society: waste.• Waste is produced at a very high rate and therefore the disposal rate must be comparable, in order to avoid accumulation. Production rate  Waste  Disposal rate• Incineration is widely adopted precisely because it is a fast process. There would be no interest in a hypothetical ‘slow combustion’ incinerator because waste does not wait, and quickly builds up. 7
  8. 8. A Directive prepared following the ‘New Approach’(1) It limits legislative harmonisation to approval of the essential requirements through Directives(2) It delegates the task of drawing up the specific techniques to the competent industrial standardisation bodies. 8
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  10. 10. The “New Approach” LawsDirectives Decrees te Manda EU NATIONAL NORMS NORMS After P.Visintin - UNI 10
  11. 11. Article 9 of pkg Directive Essential requirements1. Member States shall ensure that…. packaging may be placed on the market only if it complies with all essential requirements defined by this Directive including Annex II. 11
  12. 12. 2. Member States shall, …presume compliance with all essential requirements … in the case of packaging which complies…. with the relevant harmonized standards, the reference numbers of which have been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities…. 12
  13. 13. Article 10 of pkg Directive StandardizationThe Commission shall promote, as appropriate, the preparation of European standards relating to the essential requirements referred to in Annex II. …. 13
  14. 14. Definition 9. “organic recycling”• ‘organic recycling’ shall mean the aerobic (composting) or anaerobic (biomethanization) treatment, under controlled conditions and using micro- organisms, of the biodegradable parts of packaging waste, which produces stabilized organic residues or methane. Landfill shall not be considered a form of organic recycling; 14
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  17. 17. Harmonised packaging standards• EN 13428:2005 – Packaging - Requirements Specific To Manufacturing And Composition - Prevention By Source Reduction• EN 13429:2005 – Packaging - Reuse• EN 13430:2005 – Packaging Requirements For Packaging Recoverable By Material Recycling• EN 13431:2005 – Packaging - Requirements For Packaging Recoverable In The Form Of Energy Recovery, Including Specification Of Minimum Inferior Calorific Value• EN 13432:2000 – Packaging. Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging 17
  18. 18. Final point• EN 13432:2000 published in the Official Journal of the European Communities1• The standard EN 13432 has been used for 12 years and has proven to be reliable.• Similar approach has been adopted by ISO• 1 L 190 12/07/2001 P.0021-0023 18
  19. 19. Points that have been debated lately• Q. EN 13432 does not consider “biodegradable packaging” that can degrade in the environment. This gap must be filled.• R. A “biodegradable packaging” with properties different from the packaging that can be recovered through organic recycling (composting and anaerobic digestion) in compliance with the EN 13432 is not foreseen 19
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  21. 21. EN 13432:2000 – Packaging. Requirements for packagingrecoverable through composting and biodegradation. Testscheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging• “Biodegradable” packaging is a packaging that can be recovered by means of organic recycling. Other forms of disposal are not defined by the Directive.• Controlled landfills, unlicensed landfills or litter are not part of the European agenda that rules packaging. 21
  22. 22. Position of European Bioplastics• The bioplastics industry is committed to organic recycling as a controlled and beneficial way of recovery. Disposal of packaging material in the environment is not a way of recovery of material – regardless of material properties.• Encouraging any form of littering will add to the problem and further weaken the existing recovery streams (e.g. recycling and organic recovery). 22
  23. 23. • Q. Harmonised standards (such as EN 13432) are not obligatory and adherence is voluntary. May I use different standard specifications to show biodegradability?• R. Yes, EN 13432 is not obligatory. Other industrial standard specifications are available worldwide and can be applied. However, they do not automatically provide presumption of conformity to the essential requirements. Economic operators thus have the obligation to prove that their products are in conformity with the mandatory legal requirements. 23
  24. 24. Other specifications about compostable materialsISO 17088 - Specifications for Compostable Plastics The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has drawn up a standard which specifies the procedures and requirements for identifying and marking plastics and plastic products suitable for recovery by aerobic composting.ASTM D6400 - Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics ASTM International is a very well known standardisation body, particularly in the United States. ASTM D 6400 was the first standard to specify the requirements of plastics and plastic products designed to be composted in municipal or industrial aerobic composting plants.EN 14995 - Plastic materials - Assessment of compostability - Test and specification system It is not an alternative to EN 13432. Indeed, EN 13432 specifies the characteristics of packaging that can be recycled through organic recovery (composting and anaerobic digestion). EN 14995 covers compostable plastic materials not used as packaging 24
  25. 25. Technical content of EN 13432 25
  26. 26. Criteria of the EN 13432• Biodegradability• Disintegrability• Absence of ecotoxicological and negative effects 26
  27. 27. Biodegradability• Organic carbon  CO2 + water• Test method: ISO 14855• Duration: 6 months• Level: 90% 100 90 80 70 biodegradation % 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Time (months) 27
  28. 28. • Q. the biodegradation rate is too fast, the final level is too high. Composting of plastics is a sort of “cold incineration” that does not produce any compost and release CO2, a GHG.• R. The laboratory approach, used to show inherent biodegradability, shall not be confused with behaviour on a real composting process.• Lab test conditions do not favour biomass but rather catabolic reactions• Real composting requires the mixing of different starting materials, in a "balanced” recipe. Fast, medium, slow biodegradable compounds are needed.• No composting expert would consider composting as a "cold incineration" of vegetable or fruit residues, only because they are the most biodegradable in the bio-waste mixture.• Bioplastics can be considered as a constituent of the mixture, similar in behaviour to cellulose. 28
  29. 29. Disintegrability (EN 14045) < 10% >90% 29
  30. 30. • Q. Will products disintegrate efficiently in a composting cycle shorter than 3 months?• R. Trials carried out by the ISR (ASTM/ISR , 1996) clearly showed that the disintegration test at pilot scale was conservative in comparison with the real composting process .• Therefore, the fact that the testing period is 90 days does not imply that a compostable plastic will behave in a unsatisfactory way in a shorter cycle.• The pilot scale is less aggressive than the full scale. In case of doubts a specific trial can be carried out. 30
  31. 31. • Biodegradability, bio-based content, carbon-footprint etc. cannot be noted directly by consumers. However, the commercial success of bioproducts rests precisely on claims of this kind.• In order to guarantee market transparency, normative instruments are needed to link declarations, which are used as advertising messages, and the actual characteristics and benefits of the products. 31
  32. 32. • Many thanks for your attention… 32