Today it’s hard to imagine life without plastics, particularly when it comes to packaging materials. But this also means that plastics make up a major portion of global waste production. Alternatives are needed to reduce environmental pollution, especially in the world’s oceans.
Plastics applications manufactured from biobased polymers are already quite common in our daily lives, without our even noticing it.
Single-use carry bags, waste bags and rubbish sacks are currently the most common applications for biopolymers. Because wall thickness, as specified in DIN EN 13432, is an important criterion for the polymer’s degradation rate (requirement > 90% within 180 days), film applications must be optimally designed.
Biopolymer pigmentation is growing in importance and is accomplished today almost exclusively using color masterbatches made up of polymer carrier materials and corresponding pigments.
Colored biopolymers are also used in the food packaging industry, to manufacture meat trays and disposable cutlery, for instance. But applications for biopolymers are extremely versatile and meet the requirements specified by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The defining standard in Europe is DIN EN 13432, within which the relevant suppliers are required to maneuver by means of specified tests. The certification authorities themselves (Vinçotte, DIN CERTCO) also have similar laboratories that carry out these tests.
The content of non-biodegradable filler materials is limited by DIN EN 13432 to 5%, maximum, or 1% for each individual filler material. The heavy-metal content, primarily in packaging applications, is also regulated within this standard.
On 18 May 2015, AF-COLOR, a branch of AKRO-PLASTIC GmbH, successfully completed Vinçotte certification of its AF-Eco® product range, thereby earning the “OK compost” seal. AF-COLOR will bear certification number S467.
“We can now maneuver freely within the certified pigment pool to realize any number of different Vinçotte-certified color adjustments in a range of colors and blacks”, says Dirk Schöning, Sales and Distribution Manager at AF-COLOR.