It is known that high molecular weight polyolefins like PE and PP are hydrophobic and not prone to attack by micro-organism. This high moleculare weight is the reason why many applications are unable to disintegrate rapidly. Distengration occur at a very slow place and may take upto 400 years to biodegrade. A lower value of molecular weight (<5000) polymer/fragment increases its intrinsic microbial accessibility and enables subsequent biodegestion. Oxo-biodegradable additives when added in small percentage will degrade polyethylene and polypropylene under the certain environmental conditions consisting of oxygen, heat and sunlight. It contains certain pro-oxidants which can be added to plastic in requisite ratio to render it degradable in a realistic time frame. The initial chain scission of polymer causes change in physical properties such as tensile strength, elongation and reduction in molecular weight which leads to disintegration followed by consumption of bacteria which is very well known to convert plastic to carbon dioxide and water. Degradation speed is mainly dependent on:
– Let down ratio of additive
– Thickness of film
– Presence of certain additives such as antioxidant, UV, minerals and pigments
– Presence of oxygen
– Temperature and moisture
– Type of exposure

100 degree additive, based on technology developed by DRDO, Ministry of Defence was designed to prepare a non toxic additive with no harmful heavy metal, which can render conventional polyethylene degrade withing a realistic time frame keeping in mind the reduction of previous disadvantages of similar technologies. Even at a small addition of 1%, conventional plastic will embrittle when exposed to environment.

Calco Polychem invites industry to look for further potential of oxo-biodegradation of plastic packaging in new applications.

– Cost effective as it needs to be added in small percentage
– Controlled degradation as per requirement
– Compatible with PE and PP
– Conventional machine required and almost no change in processing parameters
– No initial loss of mechanical properties
– Additive does not affect clarity of the film
– Products are safe for food contact application
– Final residue after biodegradation is non-toxic
– Avoids emission of methane

Following is a list of potential application of 100 degree additive :
– Shopping carry bags
– Refuse sacks
– Garment and grocery bags
– Agricultural film
– Bread bags
– Frozen food bags
– Bubble wraps
– Disposable dishwares