'Degrading Plastic Bags' Daniel Burd, 2008 "Best of Fair" Winner
In 2008, then 16-year-old Daniel Burd, discovered a way to decompose plastic bags in as little as three months, winning the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.
The decomposition of some plastic bags is estimated to take as long as 1000 years. With this in mind, Daniel set out to identify microorganisms that can break down plastic.
During his research Daniel isolated two microbial strains that appeared to most successfully degrade polyethylene (the most common plastic). Taking optimal concentrations of these two strains, Burd added sodium acetate to promote bacterial growth, and placed the mixture among several strips of common grocery bags. 43% degradation of the plastic was achieved within six weeks.
Burd is confident that this method can be applied on a larger scale, stating “Industrial application should be easy. All you need is a fermenter. . . your growth medium, your microbes and your plastic bags.”
Just a quick 2 minute, very basic explanation of the difference between a compostable bag and a degradable bag. There is some more info on our blog about this topic, as it is a commonly asked question. Just search for "compostable" in the search tool.
I read the below article and laughed at the below paragraph.Almost any area that people live, there are regulations in place stating that you must pick up your dog’s poop after they do their business. Certain areas where dog walking parks exist will provide dog poop bags for the parks visitors, that are paid for by local tax dollars or donations, where other areas will require you to bring your own bag with you. The reason behind all of this of course, is that none of us enjoy stepping on, or falling in a pile of feces.
By Tiffany Windhurst
Almost any area that people live, there are regulations in place stating that you must pick up your dog’s poop after they do their business. Certain areas where dog walking parks exist will provide dog poop bags for the parks visitors, that are paid for by local tax dollars or donations: Where other areas will require you to bring your own bag with you. The reason behind all of this of course, is that none of us enjoy stepping on, or falling in a pile of feces.
There are a number of people who are more than happy to reuse their plastic shopping bags, or purchase waste hamper type bags for this purpose, but there is a much more environmentally responsible option: Biodegradable dog poop bags. The waste itself is going to be taken care of by mother nature; so why enclose it in a bag that will take years to break down?
The good news is that while you’re going to be saving the environment, while keeping your parks and community clean: You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars a year to buy biodegradable dog poop bags. In fact they cost the same, or less than other plastic type bags and are equally strong. Most compostable bags will run you under 10 cents a bag and amazing bulk deals can be found online — if you like the idea of cutting the middleman (store) out of the picture.
Where am I going to get rid of the bag?
Some parks will provide you with a designated receptacle for dog waste. Another option is to throw them in the regular trash, or put them in an isolate part of the wilderness (not one that is frequently traveled). The third option is to simply flush them down the toilet just like you do with your own, since the bag is biodegradable you don’t need to worry your breaking the law, or creating a problem for your local sewage treatment.
Find out more on http://petadore.com/dog-poop-bags-harvest-your-doggy-poop-the-proper-way and read many interesting articles on http://petadore.com.
Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Tiffany_Windhurst
Most people in Australia will be aware of the Plastic Bag Ban which is in various states of effectiveness in South Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT. The Plastic Bag Ban makes exceptions for Compostable Bags which are compliant with Australian Standard AS4736 - 2006. This standard is for "Biodegradable plastics suitable for composting". This means that Compostable Bags are allowed, where Degradable Bags are not. The question that many people ask is WHY ??? Well, for the answer to this - we need to look at the AS4736 - 2006 standard, to see how they define compostability. In order for a something to be "compostable", the following 4 criteria must be met:
Now the only difference between Compostable Bags and Degradable Bags is with criteria number 2. A Degradable Bag will biodegrade slower than a Compostable Bag in a commercial composting environment. But is the rapid degradation speed in the standard fair? Biodegradation in 180 days is pretty fast. Even some natural items such as leaves can take as long as 1 -2 years to break down! Even a leaf isn't considered "compostable" by the standard - how appropriate can the standard really be? If the objective of the plastic bag ban is to reduce plastic bag litter, then the exemption of AS4736 - 2006 Compostable bags - at the exclusion of degradable bags is actually counter intuitive and wrong.
A lot of people ask the question if Degradable Singlet Bags are "as good" as Singlet Bags made from conventional plastic. And indeed they very well are - so long as two key conditions are met:
We've actually made a video to demonstrate a Degradable Singlet Bag in a weight bearing test which is heavier than what you would find a typical "supermarket load" of groceries to be. The singlet bag in question is the S12DEB - one of our original degradable products. Degradable Singlet Bags were first marketed by Maxpak in 2001, meaning the Company was one of the first to introduce this environmentally sensitive material to Australia.
With some states legislating for a "plastic bag ban" - several national retailers have sought alternatives to the humble plastic singlet bag. Most alternatives revolve around bags manufactured from other materials. The below list gives an idea of the approximate costs associated with alternate materials in comparison to plastic singlet bags.
Maxpak can supply all of the alternatives mentioned above.
With legislation regarding compostable bags appearing in South Australia, Northern Territory and the ACT, it has become important to understand the meaning of the different terms which exist for the various materials available. The terms "biodegradable bags", "degradable bags"and "compostable bags" are often misused. To add to the confusion, other terms such as hydro-degradable and oxo-degradable have also been introduced to the vernacular. No wonder people are left bewildered! It feels like we all need to get a polymer science degree just to understand the terms, and this leads to a great deal of confusion in the market place.
What does it all mean?
ASTM D883-99 defines "Degradable Plastic" as "a plastic designed to undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under certain conditions resulting in a loss of some properties that may vary as measured by standard test methods appropriate to the plastic and the application in a period of time that determines its classification."
Degradable plastics, also known as "oxo-degradable" plastics describe when traditional polyethylene is treated with pro - degradent additives at the point of extrusion. This allows the finished product to undergo a two stage process after being triggered by sufficient exposure to a combination of UV light, heat and mechanical stress. The process firstly causes chemical reactions within the film to become extremely brittle - losing substantial tensile strength, elasticity and molecular weight. The plastic film ends up resembling minute "dust" particles. Secondly, these smaller molecules are ingested by micro organisms - causing the film to be biodegraded into carbon dioxide, water and bio mass.
Compostable plastics, also known as "hydro - degradable" plastics are developed from a different raw material - typically a fusion of traditional polymers and starch based components. The "hydro - degradation" process is quite similar to the "oxo - degradation" process. Both undergo initial chemical reactions which cause deterioration in the molecular weight of the film, followed by biodegradation by micro organisms. However the trigger for the process for Compostable plastics is being in the presence of high bacterial / microbial environment. The end result is identical: carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
With the processes sounding similar, and the end results being the same - are there any other differences? Well, yes ...
"Biodegradable Plastics" - what are they? According to ASTM D883-99 a "Biodegradable Plastic" is "a degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally-occurring micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae." With such a definition, it can be inferred that both "Degradable" and "Compostable" plastic bags are ultimately "Biodegradable" at their end point.
Packaging, Environment and Legislation Observations from Maxpak
Environmental Packaging, Plastic Bags, Paper Bags, Shopping Bags, Cleaning Wipes & Products, Garbage Bags & Liners, Packaging & Cleaning Products