Compostability of films

Biodegradability is defined in the EU by DIN EN 13432 and states that a material must have degraded to more than 90 per cent to water, carbon dioxide (CO2) and biomass within 6 months in industrial composting under defined temperature, oxygen and moisture conditions in the presence of microorganisms. Bio-films that are disposed of in the domestic bio-bin do not undergo any decomposition process in the usual 2- to 3-week collection cycle. Thus, the disposed bio-film is passed on to the recyclable material disposal completely coherent.

With a few exceptions, the sorting facilities at the local recycling centres cannot differentiate between conventional films and bio-films. Therefore, both types of film are sorted out and sent for thermal or material recycling. Should bio-films nevertheless find their way through the sorting plants, they undergo a fermentation process (e.g. in a fermenter) lasting 6 to 8 weeks, which is customary in the industry. According to the aforementioned European legislation, however, compostable films must have decomposed within 12 weeks. Time that they do not get in practice.

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