Is Breakdown Plastic a company that sells products or additive?
Both. Breakdown Plastic manufactures a range of plastic products using our additive (Breakdown Plastic) which is proven to increase biodegradation* in an anaerobic landfill environment. We also work with companies to supply them with our proprietary additive to be used in their existing product lines. These companies have the option to license our logo to be used on their products. This adds to their green initiative from a marketing perspective, telling their customers that they use Breakdown Plastic.
What are the different types of mainstream plastic that can be made into Breakdown Plastic?
The following is a list of common types of plastics and their respective products. Breakdown Plastic can manufacture products with any of the following plastics:
- PET (polyethylene terephthalate): plastic soft drink bottles, water bottles, mouthwash, etc.
- HDPE (high density polyethylene): milk, detergents, motor oils, toys, plastic bags, etc.
- PVC (polyvinyl chloride): food wrap, vegetable oil bottles, blister packaging, etc.
- LDPE (low density polyethylene): bread bags, food bags, bottles, clothing, furniture, carpet, etc.
- PP (polypropylene): margarine and yogurt containers, caps for containers, etc.
- PS (polystyrene): egg cartons, fast food trays, disposable plastic silverware, etc.
- EVA (Ethylene vinyl acetate): sandals, flexible packaging, foam, toys, padding, pool noodles.
- GPPS (general purpose polystyrene): disposable cutlery, hard packaging, and CD cases
- NYLON: clothing, instrument strings, auto parts, electrical coating, electronics, adhesives
- PC (Polycarbonate): safety goggles, plexiglass, bulletproof glass, and cell phone screens
How are Breakdown Plastics moulded into products?
There are many ways to process plastics, the main purpose being to convert plastic pellets into a useable product, i.e. bottles, film, fibres, toys and all other plastic products you use daily. The most common manufacturing processes are; extrusion and injection moulding. Breakdown Plastic products are made the same way as the following traditional plastics. We just ‘drop in’ our additive like a colorant into a hopper at the throat of the manufacturing screw.
A heated plastic compound is forced continuously through a forming die made in the desired shape (like squeezing toothpaste from a tube, it produces a long, usually narrow, continuous product). The formed plastic cools under blown air or in a water bath and hardens on a moving belt. Rods, tubes, pipes, sheet and thin film (such as food wraps) are extruded then coiled or cut to desired lengths.
An extrusion process also makes plastic fibres. Liquid resin is squeezed through thousands of tiny holes called spinnerets to produce the fine threads from which plastic fabrics are woven.
This is the second most widely used process to form plastics. The plastic compound, heated to a semi-fluid state, is squirted into a mould under great pressure and hardens quickly. The mould then opens and the part is released. This process can be repeated as many times as necessary and is particularly suited to mass production methods. Injection moulding is used for a wide variety of plastic products, from small cups and toys to large objects weighing 30 pounds or more.
This is a secondary processing as it takes the injection-moulded part and pressure is used to form hollow objects, such as the soda pop bottle or two-gallon milk bottle, in a direct or indirect method. In the direct blow-moulding method, a partially shaped, heated plastic form is inserted into a mould. Air is blown into the form, forcing it to expand to the shape of the mould. In the indirect method, a plastic sheet or special shape is heated then clamped between a die and a cover. Air is forced between the plastic and the cover and presses the material into the shape of the die.
Does Breakdown Plastic biodegrade when littered?
No, Breakdown Plastic is not designed to be a solution for litter. It is designed to be ‘Landfill Friendly’, biodegrading* in an anaerobic landfill environment. As much as we want to think we as a society are becoming ‘greener’, some of the numbers aren’t saying this. An average of 7% of all manufactured plastic is recycled. Over 40 billion water bottles end up in landfills. What Breakdown Plastic can do, is help in eliminating the amount of plastic in landfills.
Can Breakdown Plastic be used with barriers?
Yes. Breakdown Plastic can be used with many common barrier materials. When using a barrier, it is important to ensure that all layers contain the proper load rate of Breakdown Plastic. Proprietary additives in Breakdown Plastic accelerate the natural biodegradation of plastics in biologically active landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent certified laboratories using internationally recognized test methods. Independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. Actual rate of biodegradation will vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic.
I have read that petroleum based plastic requires less energy to make than plant based plastics (PLA). Is this true?
Yes. Plant based plastics, or ‘Bio plastics’ require a lot of energy to make. They also require crops to be harvested for their plastic, which uses even more energy, not to mention food crops that could be used for human consumption. Breakdown Plastic is a petroleum based plastic, again using an organic additive to accelerate the degradation of the plastic through microbial activity. Petroleum based plastic has been around for so many years that they have become very efficient. The main drawback has always been its lack of biodegradability.
Are Breakdown Plastic products compostable, biodegradable and recyclable? Isn't compostable the best option?
Breakdown Plastic products are not compostable. Compostable are popular because there hasn’t been a lot of options other than petroleum based plastics, but they are under fire right now. There are colleges in the U.S. that are banning compostable plastics because they are not breaking down as claimed. Add to that the fact that these plastics must be deposited in commercial compost facilities which are not abundant and compostable plastics begin to be a big headache. Breakdown plastics can be tossed in the recycling bin, or if trashed, will biodegrade in the landfill, which is a much better solution. But we always promote reusing plastics and recycling instead of throwing them in the trash.
Why is Breakdown Plastic the best solution for
green plastic initiatives?
The development of our materials marks a turning point from traditional plastics to a more earth-friendly plastic and provides a turnkey, stable solution over other products on the market today.
Breakdown Plastic products maintain the same physical properties and strength as traditional plastics. Once manufactured, your products have an indefinite shelf life and are not affected by light, heat, moisture or stress. These attributes will last until the product is discarded into an active microbial environment (landfill), and will then break the plastic down into humus, Co2 and/or biogas.
The following table shows a comparison of Breakdown Plastic technology to other products that are currently available in the market.
|Shelf Life||Recyclable||Landfill Biodegration||Compost Biodegradation||Remnants|
|Breakdown||Indefinite||Yes||1-5 Years*||Never||Biomass & CO2|
|Pet Resins||Indefinite||Yes||Never||Never||Plastic Resin|
|PLA Resins||1-6 Months||No||Seldom||3-6 mo. in compost facility||Biomass and Gases|
|Starch Resins||1-4 Months||No||Never||30-180 Days||CO2 and Biogas|
|Photodegradable||2-4 Months||No||Never||3 Months - 5 Years*||Cobalt, Cadmium, Other Toxic Resins|
|Oxo-Degradable||2-6 Months||No||Never||3 Months - 5 Years*||CO2, Biogas, Heavy Metals|
Can customers use
regrind containing Breakdown Plastic?
Yes. However, it is recommended to implement quality control to ensure the approved amount of material is being loaded into the resin.
What is the manufacturing process for using Breakdown Plastic additive?
Using additive in the manufacturing process is very easy to do. Breakdown Plastic is added via a standard commercial dry feeder just as you would add a colorant into the throat. It is loaded at 1% by load weight; the remaining process parameters should stay virtually the same.
Are there any special handling requirements for the Breakdown Plastic?
Yes, always make sure to seal the unused portion of additive because it could be slightly hygroscopic. It is also a good idea to rotate the lot every six months to ensure good quality control.
Do Breakdown resins or additive impart any taste or smell; is there any leaching associated with the product?
No, there are no taste, flavours, or smells imparted to plastics or rubbers that use Breakdown materials in their manufacturing process. Additionally, Independent 3rd party testing has shown no negative leaching results.
What is the difference between biodegradable, compostable and oxo degradable plastics?
When plastic (or any other material) degrades from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and algae. Biodegradation can occur in either aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen) environments. Breakdown Plastic falls under this category and is recyclable.
Capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost or aerobic environment to the point that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass. Compostable plastics are made up of renewable material and must be discarded in a commercial compost facility. They are not recyclable.
Oxo Degradable Plastic:
A plastic designed to undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions resulting in a loss of physical properties. This degradation can be initiated by oxygen, ultra violet light or heat. In many cases these products begin to degrade the moment they are manufactured which leads to a shortened useful life. They are not recyclable.
Does Breakdown Plastic cause plastic to break down into particles that toxify ground and water?
Breakdown Plastic does not cause the same reaction in plastic as oxo degradable. Oxo degradable additive adds metal salts to the plastic product that cause the plastic to fragment, polluting the ground and water. Breakdown Plastic additive is organic, containing no metals or toxins and it enhances microbial activity in an anaerobic landfill. In nature, microbes consume all matter, eventually. A natural by product of this consumption is CO2 Humus and methane. These are the same by products of plastic treated with Breakdown Plastic. Basically, what naturally happens over hundreds of years will now take 1-5 years with Breakdown Plastic additive, without affecting the ground or water negatively.
Do traditional plastics biodegrade?
Plastics have been designed for their physical properties, strength and durability. Most plastics contain carbon atoms linked into long chains. Although carbon is a great nutrient source for microorganisms, the long chains make it difficult to be metabolized. Biodegradation of these plastics can be accelerated through the use of the Breakdown Plastic technology.
How does Breakdown Plastics accelerate the biodegradation of traditional plastics?
Once exposed to enzymes that act as catalysts found in landfills and other naturally created chemicals, the microorganisms will penetrate the Breakdown Plastic while other ingredients expand the molecular structure, making room for the incoming microbes. The microbes attract other microbes by releasing chemicals in a process called quorum sensing. Quorum sensing is a process by which the microbes determine where to nest and grow once they have found a reliable food source. Collectively, they feast on the polymer chains, breaking down the chemical bonds that hold the plastic together.
What prevents plastics enhanced with Breakdown Plastic from degrading while in storage or on the shelf?
Breakdown Plastic requires an active microbial environment (such as a landfill) for biodegradation. Warehouses, offices, store shelves, etc. are not considered such environments.
How long does it take for Breakdown Plastic to biodegrade?
There are a number of factors, which contribute to the length of time required to fully biodegrade. These include the surface area of the plastic, its mass and thickness, the microbial activity in the landfill, the amount or lack of oxygen, and most importantly, moisture levels. Biodegradation occurs in all landfills at varying rates. Our Breakdown additive accelerates the natural biodegradation of plastics in biologically active landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent, certified laboratories using internationally recognized test methods. Additionally, independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. The actual rate of biodegradation will always vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic.
What tests validate biodegradation of Breakdown Plastic in landfills?
The ASTM D5511 Test Method is a test used to determine the rate of biodegradation of plastic products in an anaerobic bio digester environment.
The method calls for plastic samples to be placed in sealed fermentation vessels filled with a required amount of inoculum derived from a mix of composted solids and active waste water treatment plant sludge. For each sample the test is run in triplicate and compared to a positive control, a negative control, and an inoculum control. The fermentation vessels are connected to collection devices that measure waste gas produced by bacterial metabolic processes.
This collected gas is regularly sampled and placed in a gas chromatograph instrument for highly accurate composition analysis. The test method calls for Methane (CH4) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels to be carefully measured and recorded, as these are carbonaceous gasses commonly produced as waste by-products during the process of biodegradation. At the end of the test the exact carbon-weight of the gasses collected is calculated and recorded.
Accurately measuring biodegradation is an extremely difficult task. Biodegradation is a complex system of microbial metabolic processes that involve many species of bacteria producing many by-products, which are in turn utilized, by other bacteria involved in the system. Other ASTM tests, including the D5338, a composting test, use the same process of recovering carbonaceous gas to determine percent biodegradation of test samples. The D-5511 test was designed by the American Society of Testing and Measurements (ASTM) and is widely utilized around the globe to detect evidence of the biodegradation of plastic substances.
Which ASTM biodegradable testing standards have verified the performance of Breakdown Plastic?
Breakdown Plastic accelerates the biodegradation of plastics in landfills and anaerobic digesters as validated by independent certified laboratories using ASTM International test methods (ASTM D5511). Independent 3rd party testing has shown up to 24.7% biodegradation within 160 days in optimized conditions. Actual rate of biodegradation will vary dependent upon environmental conditions and the biological activity of microorganisms surrounding the plastic. The customary disposal method of plastics is either recycling or landfill disposable, therefore the most applicable test methods would be for anaerobic (landfill) conditions. Breakdown Plastic tests its enhanced plastics under the scrutiny of ASTM D5511, which are standard test methods for determining anaerobic biodegradation of plastic materials.
Can Breakdown Plastic be used for food and drink contact applications?
Yes. Breakdown Plastic products are compliant for food contact applications under both FDA CFR title 21 Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS), CFIA and EU food contact regulations.
Are Breakdown Plastic products recyclable?
Yes. Breakdown Plastic products have no impact whatsoever on the recyclability of your plastic products.
What are the benefits of depositing Breakdown Plastic products in a landfill?
Breakdown Plastic products reduce the long-term impact on landfill in several ways: Reducing the bulk of plastic waste allows for more effective utilization of diminishing landfill space Landfill environments are anaerobic in nature and lead to CH4 (methane) offgasing. CH4 can be reclaimed as a source for clean, inexpensive energy. The Clean Air Act requires all landfills to reclaim methane and other Green House Gasses (GHG), which are to be burned or used to create energy.
Using methane from landfills is the most inexpensive form of “green” energy available at this time. It is even cheaper than solar, hydro, wind and alternative fuels. Corporations and government entities utilize methane in fulfilling sustainability goals.
Is it legal to label a product as
biodegradable in the state of California?
California law prohibits the labeling of any plastic products that do not meet its requirements for "compostable" or "marine degradable." The state prohibits the sale of plastic bags or food and beverage containers that are labeled with the terms "biodegradable," "degradable," or "decomposable," or any form of those terms. Furthermore, brands cannot imply, in any way, that a bag or container will break down, biodegrade, or decompose in a landfill or other environment. Beginning in January 2013, this law will apply to all plastic products sold in or into California. See link to the California Public Resource Code: While there are provisions in the law for reviewing additional ASTM standards for biodegradable, currently an ASTM Standard Specification for Biodegradability in environments other than composting are not completed for state adoption. Breakdown Plastic recommends complying with all federal, state and local laws.
What is Breakdown Plastic made of?
Breakdown Plastic is a proprietary and patented blend of organic ingredients proven to increase the rate of plastic biodegradation* in treated plastic products.
When plastic breaks down, it emits methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Does Breakdown Plastic emit methane when it biodegrades? What happens to the methane?
Yes, Breakdown Plastic does emit methane and CO2, which is a natural process of any material biodegrading. Landfill biogas emissions are on the smaller end of the scale. We would have to deposit millions of tonnes of Breakdown Plastic into landfills to create a minimal effect on biogas production.
The gases produced within a landfill can be collected and used in various ways. The landfill gas can be utilized directly on site by a boiler or any type of combustion system, providing heat. Electricity can also be generated on site through the use of micro turbines, steam turbines, or fuel cells. The landfill gas can also be sold off site and sent into natural gas pipelines or used to fuel vehicles, cooking stoves and facilities. See here for an example of a bioreactor landfill facility. We visited this landfill site in July 2016 and were incredibly impressed by the amount of clean fuel that was generated from landfill gas.
Do you have any stats on plastic waste in the world? How bad is it?
Here are some interesting facts about plastic waste in 2014, as sourced from ecowatch.com
- In one week, we go through 1 Trillion plastic bags worldwide.
- Of the 1 Trillion bags produced, 90% are trashed and only .3% - 5% are recycled
- In one year, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags per year.
- Over the last ten years we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century.
- 32 million tones of plastic waste are generated each year. This is 12.7% of the total municipal waste. (EPA source)
- 50 percent of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
- Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
- We currently recover only five percent of the plastics we produce.
- The average American throws away approximately 185 pounds of plastic per year.
- Plastic accounts for around 10 percent of the total waste we generate.
- The production of plastic uses around eight percent of the world’s oil production (bio plastics are not a good solution as they require food source crops).
- Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year (source: Brita)
- Plastic in the ocean breaks down into such small segments, that pieces of plastic from a one-litre bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world.
- Annually approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide. More than one million bags are used every minute.
- It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.
- Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).
- Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body - 93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical).
What percentage of garbage in landfills is plastic?
See the chart below.