EPI Environmental Products, Symphony Environmental Technologies dispute position paper by SPI's Bioplastics Council questioning biodegradability of oxo-biodegradable plastic additives

LOS ANGELES , February 4, 2010 () – Two oxo-biodegradable plastic additive makers are challenging criticism about their product’s biodegradability from the Society of the Plastic Industry’s (SPI) Bioplastics Council, Plastics News reported on Feb. 2.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based EPI Environmental Products Inc. and Borehamwood, England-based Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC defended their products and criticized the Bioplastics Council’s position, which was contained in a five-page paper released Jan. 28.

In the paper, the Bioplastics Council pointed out that there is no data or proof “as per accepted standards" of biodegradability of oxo-biodegradable plastic additives.

EPI said on Feb. 1 that the Bioplastics Council and a similar group in Europe “are inherently biased against competing technologies” and have an ongoing campaign to discredit oxo-biodegradable plastic technology with “misinformation and rumor-mongering,” Plastics News reported.

In a Feb. 1 press release, Symphony called the efforts of the hydro-biodegradable plastic companies to “rubbish” the oxo-biodegradable plastics makers “laughable,” saying that their tactics are becoming “increasingly desperate”.

In July 2009, the European Bioplastics organization issued allegations against oxo-biodegradable plastics similar to SPI’s Bioplastics Council. Symphony said this was not surprising “as they are financed by some of the same companies for the same purpose.”

Seven of the eight members of the Bioplastics Council are also members of European Bioplastics, Plastics News reported. Shared members include Arkema, BASF Corp., Cereplast Inc., DuPont Co., NatureWorks LLC, PolyOne Corp. and Telles, the joint venture company of Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland.

Responding to the criticism from EPI and Symphony, the Bioplastics Council issued a statement reaffirming its position, saying that the industry is obligated “to provide consumers with clear information supported by scientific data so that marketing claims do in fact match product results.”

Concerns about oxo-biodegradable additives also have been raised by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers (APR) and the National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCOR).

The primary source of this article is Plastics News, Akron, Ohio, on Feb. 2, 2010.

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