Frequently asked questions
Is your technology oxo-biodegradable?A
Absolutely not. Our technology relies upon reacting with elements in the natural environment beyond just oxygen. Our technology is designed to engage with oxygen, as well as water / humidity and sunlight to promote a multitude of chemical reactions, that perform the transformation of the polymer chains into the biotransformed materials, which are colonised rapidly as a result of the process.
Does your technology encourage littering?A
Any improvement in the sustainability of packaging is an opportunity to raise awareness around responsible behaviour with consumers, if messaged effectively. Polymateria believes that the primary message to consumers should always be to responsibly dispose, ideally by recycling when possible. Similar to safety belts in cars where initially concerns were around them potentially promoting careless driving, it instead unlocked a wave of innovation within the industry with automotive brands scrambling to find new ways to differentiate through the latest safety innovation. It is our ambition to work with the packaging industry, as well as recyclers and NGOs to drive towards 100% of packaging being recyclable and also biodegradable. Our Cylce+ brand is designed with exactly this objective in mind.
How does it work?A
Our Biotransformation technology converts the hydrocarbon backbone of a plastic product into an oligomeric material in 2 ways:
- 1. Breaks up / cuts the links in the polymer chain to produce smaller oligomeric and discrete chemical compounds, i.e. reduces the molecular weight.
- 2. Chemically transforms the super-hydrophobic hydrocarbon polymer backbone into a hydrophilic material capable of interaction with the natural environment, confirmed by Carbonyl Index.
The criteria above can only be met thanks to Polymateria’s proprietary Masterbatch formulations, which ensure chemical transformation beyond merely oxidation, to also include hydrolysis, chain scission and radical cleavage of atoms. The above 2 criteria give us confidence, augmented by scientific literature evidence, that the biotransformed oligomeric material produced after the initial chemical transformation of the plastic will biodegrade in the natural environment.
Our eco-toxicology data upon this material confirms its safety in the natural environment in both land and water.
How do you manufacture and deploy your technology?A
Our technology is produced as a Masterbatch drop-in additive, in pellet form. Production is currently performed by a trusted toll producer in France with in-house production predicted to come online in 2020. Masterbatch is added to the melt during extrusion of client polymer resin, similar to other additives such as colorants, slip agents, etc. Masterbatch is added at a dosage rate of between 1 – 2%.
How do you know it works?A
We prove the effectiveness of our technology through using the ASTM D6954 testing methodology.
Additionally, Polymateria augments the ASTM method with additional tests for environmental safety, molecular weight as well as carbonyl index data. The combination of molecular weight reduction and the increase in carbonyl index are the key points for proving Biotransformation of the plastic into a biocompatible oligomeric material, which cannot be classified scientifically as microplastics.
In addition to the above we augment the proof points around our Biotransformation with eco-toxicology data as well as more enhanced analytical data of the Biotransformation process in action.
Why do you use the same methodology for testing oxo-biodegradable plastics for your technology?A
The standards rightly do not differentiate between the types of technologies being tested, but rather focus on the end result We are currently working with ASTM, RISE as well as SASO and BSI to share our approach in order to help create a new standard, with a pass/fail criteria which is more applicable to demonstrating the biodegradation capability of a material in the natural environment (in the case of littering or leakage from the waste management streams). We hope that this will become the new gold standard for assuring a material or technology is capable of performing. This will also allow for a better comparison of technologies.
What is the trigger needed for the active ingredients to be activated? Is it time, temperature or UV lights?A
Our technology is designed to have multiple triggers to ensure the activation of the technology, rather than just one. Thus time, UV light, temperature, humidity and air will all play a role in different stages to engage with the technology to chemical transform the plastic into a biocompatible material. This process increases microbial colonisation and thus aides the complete biodegradation of the plastic (to carbon dioxide, water and biomass).
What is shelf life of the additive?A
The Masterbatch additive can be stored for a maximum of 1 year in the sealed bags they are shipped in. Once opened a bag should be used within 24 hours to ensure performance.
Are there any risks/hazards identified associated with the technology including food compliance?A
None. Food compliance has been certified through migration certifications and GRAS statement. These can be provided as part of our Testing Proof Pack (TPP).
What happens if it goes into a recycling facility?A
Our technology has no adverse impact on recycling streams. An in-house recycling trial has been conducted by Polymateria and is detailed in our Testing Proof Pack (TPP). We have assessed our method against that used by APR, including their position statement and guidelines for testing protocols around recycling. Whilst we have not tested our material to these exact guidelines, we are delighted to note that our current recycling report meets many of the methodological criteria that APR have requested for this type of innovative product.
Interested in seeing the proof points behind our technology?Visit our customer portal