European Plastics Recyclers Warn Against ‘Oxo-Degradable’ Additives

The European Plastics Recyclers Association (EuPR) recently urged manufacturers to exercise caution if using oxo-degradable additives, warning they have the potential to do more harm to the environment than good.

“We urge manufacturers of PET resin and packaging to refrain from introductions of degradable additive-containing products until data is made available for review and verification so we can better understand these products and their potential ramifications,” said the association.”

Why the concern, especially from a trade association funded by the plastics industry.

Well, according to an article in The Guardian, studies of one brand of “degradable bags” commissioned by the Biodegradable Products Institute, found that breakdown is not at all assured even in the most favorable of environmental conditions. The Guardian goes on to cite a recent Swedish study that found that polyethylene containing manganese (degradable) additives stops breaking down when put in compost, probably due to the influence of ammonia or other gases generated by microorganisms in the compost.

Additive manufacturer’s will continue to face growing skepticism and scrutiny while they continue to make unsubstantiated marketing claims.