BASF offers a range of certified ecovio® biodegradable plastics for a variety of applications suitable for use at different stages of the food cycle. To date, a number of studies conducted by independent organizations have confirmed the benefits of using ecovio® in the production, packaging and transportation of food, as well as in the collection of food waste. These advantages are based on the proven biodegradability of the material in industrial and domestic conditions (compost pit), as well as in soil. Studies have shown that food waste is reduced and nutrients are returned to the soil through the formation of larger volumes of compost. In addition, it is possible to avoid the accumulation of plastic in the soil.
Biodegradable soil mulching film for resource-saving farming
In many countries, farmers use polyethylene mulching film (PE) to increase yields. However, after harvesting, farmers often cannot fully collect the film, especially when its thickness is only a few microns. Thus, the remains of polyethylene fall into the soil and accumulate in it, since this material does not decompose. A study at the Technical University of Zurich, Switzerland (ETH Zürich) showed for the first time that soil microorganisms can feed on a film made from polybutyrate diperephthalate (PBAT).
Microorganisms use carbon polymer for both energy production and biomass synthesis. This means that PBAT is biodegradable in the soil, and does not accumulate in it in the form of microplastics, like polyethylene.
BASF’s ecovio® M 2351 is a certified (in accordance with EN 17033), biodegradable plastic mulch film, consisting of a biodegradable ecoflex® polyester copolymer (PBAT) and other biodegradable polymers based on renewable raw materials. The ecovio® M 2351 film can be left in the soil after harvest without the need for cleaning and disposal. Natural microorganisms contained in the soil, such as bacteria or fungi, perceive the structure of the mulching film from ecovio® M 2351 as food that their body can absorb. The final biodegradation products involving microorganisms are CO2, water and biomass.
Avoiding food waste through smart packaging of fruits and vegetables
Ecovio® fruit and vegetable bags keep food fresh for longer thanks to its air-tight packaging. This is the result of a study conducted by the University of Soil Science (Vienna, Austria), which consisted in assessing the shelf life of various fruits and vegetables stored in bags made of polyethylene and ecovio®. Ecovio® packaging has a higher permeability with respect to water vapor and oxygen – this allows you to provide optimal humidity and oxygen content for various types of fruits and vegetables in the package of the desired volume. Due to this, in turn, their shelf life is increased: for example, tomatoes in ecovio® bags remain fresh up to four times longer than tomatoes in plastic bags. Thus, smart packaging reduces the amount of food waste. Moreover, ecovio® fruit and vegetable bags are not only suitable for carrying and storing: thanks to the possibility of being reused as garbage bags for organic waste, they can make the collection and disposal of food waste more efficient.
Organic waste collection using biodegradable dual-use bags
Separate collection of organic waste is a condition for the reuse of nutrients and, therefore, a closed food cycle. Several pilot projects, for example, in Berlin and Bad Dürkheim County (Germany), as well as in India and China, have shown that consumers collect significantly more organic waste into biodegradable plastic bags if they are easily accessible. In addition, in this case, consumers also collect food waste that is usually ignored by them, for example, residues of fatty or liquid foods. At the same time, the number of non-degradable bags thrown into bins for organic waste is significantly reduced.
Biodegradable dual-use bags made from ecovio® allow you to collect more kitchen waste for organic processing safely, easily and hygienically, without getting wet and unpleasant odors, as ecovio® is resistant to tearing and moisture. With industrial composting, ecovio® is completely degraded by microorganisms and their enzymes in a few weeks (in accordance with EN 13432). Valuable compost, in turn, increases the nutrient content in the soil, so the food cycle closes.