FAQs

1

What does EcoLogic® do?
EcoLogic® owns, manufactures and markets Eco-One® brand of additives for plastic products worldwide. Eco-One is an organic additive which renders traditional plastic biodegradable in landfill environments.

2

Are these products the same as starch or sugar based plastics (examples: PLA, PHA, PHB, etc.)?
No. Eco-One-based plastics are not similar to corn or sugar based plastics in their properties, how they function, or how they biodegrade.

3

Is the plastic with Eco-One™ the same as oxo-degradable plastic?
No. Oxo-degradable plastics require oxygen and UV light or heat to initiate degradation and thus
will not biodegrade in landfills. Products using Eco-One do not require either UV light or oxygen to
biodegrade and will biodegrade at any depth in landfills.

4

Does Eco-One affect the recycle-ability of currently recyclable products?
No. There is no change in intrinsic viscosity of the plastic after adding Eco-One, therefore, products with Eco-One will not affect the recycling stream.

5

Is your organic additive FDA compliant?
Yes. Our additive is FDA-compliant for contact with food in polystyrene (PS), polyolefin (all polyethylenes and polypropylenes) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) applications.

6

Do Eco-One and/or products made with Eco-One have a limited shelf life?
No. Unlike both PLA and Oxo products, Eco-One has a very long shelf life and products made with
Eco-One have the same shelf life as they would have had without Eco-One.

7

Does Eco-One have any special storage requirements?
No. Unlike Oxo or PLA, Eco-One does not have special storage requirements.

8

Do you have any test data validating biodegradation from independent laboratories?
Yes. We can furnish all testing results. Please contact us.

9

How do products containing Eco-One biodegrade?
For details, please go to www.ecologic-llc.com and check out our “How It Works” section.

10

How long does it take these products to biodegrade in landfills?
This will depend on the amount of Eco-One in the product, the conditions of the landfill and the thickness and composition of the product. The average landfill is a very good environment for biodegradation because it is warm, moist, and full of soil micro-organisms and food waste that cause the micro-organisms to eat the plastic. ASTM D5511 tests (representing biologically active landfills) carried out for durations ranging from 1 to 12 months, on a broad category of product containing Eco-One have show excellent biodegradation rates. It is important to note that biodegradation will begin and will continue leading to significant bioassimilition, shortening the time span the plastic would have occupied the landfill space from hundreds of years to several years.

11

Are the additive's ingredients harmful to people or to the environment?
No. Our additive is 100% organic and is in compliance with FDA standards for contact with food.

12

Will active microbes in food (meat, cheese, etc.) or lawn care products start the biodegradation process in normal storage conditions such as a warehouse or store shelf?
No. Eco-One attracts oleophilic bacteria (oil-eating bacteria) that are present in landfills. The active microbes in food or dairy products or lawn care products are not oleophilic and not the “super” colony microbes you find in landfills, composting sites or waste water sludge plants.

Knowledge Base

1

What are "green plastics"?
Sometimes called "bio-plastics", these plastics have one or more of the following properties: they are biodegradable in one or more locations (landfills, home composts, industrial composting sites or marine environments) and in some cases are made from renewable materials (agricultural crops for example). At times the significant amount of resources such as land and water that go into making the renewable material do not justify making the bio-plastic since it puts an undue strain elsewhere in our ecosystem. PLA, PHB, and PHA are examples of these type of bio-plastics which only biodegrade in industrial composting facilities which accept plastic.

2

What is biodegradation?
True biodegradation is the process in which secretion of acids breaks down the molecular structure of materials (sometimes referred to as chemical break down or decomposition ) and emits either methane gas or carbon dioxide in greater quantity than the additive and leaves behind humus ( biomass ). The decomposition process occurs via naturally present or naturally occurring organisms such as bacteria, fungi, etc. Products made from plant or animal sources such as paper, vegetable scraps, and some plastics that have special ingredients in them can or will biodegrade. Biodegradation can occur in aerobic (requiring oxygen) or anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions

3

Can plastics biodegrade in landfills without leaving behind toxic waste?
Yes, but not all biodegradable plastic do that. It depends on the additive used to make plastics biodegradable. Plastics made with Eco-One and those made from renewable materials are not known to leave toxic waste after biodegradation.

4

What is to be gained by plastics biodegrading in a landfill?
It prevents plastic pollution from becoming worse, and results in significant space savings (more can be accommodated in a landfill) given in 2009 plastics occupied 17% by weight of a landfill. A significant advantage is the ability to generate clean, reliable and cost-effective renewable energy from the methane emitted (this is discussed in much more detail later).

5

Are biodegradable plastics the same as degradable plastics?
No, there are two primary differences between 'degradable' and 'biodegradable'. Degradable plastics are designed to undergo significant changes in their chemical structure under specific conditions (heat, moisture and/or UV exposure) resulting in loss of some properties. Oxo-degradable plastics are a class of degradable plastics. On the other hand biodegradable plastics are engineered to decompose in the natural environment. Secondly, degradable products tend to take much longer to break down into carbon dioxide, biomass and water.

6

How is biodegradation measured?
For aerobic biodegradation, the measurement of carbon dioxide evolved during degradation gives direct information on the bioconversion of the carbon backbone of the polymer to metabolic end products. After determining the carbon content of the original test material, the percentage biodegradation can be calculated as the percentage of solid carbon converted to gaseous carbon in the form of CO2. In addition to carbon conversion, disintegration and weight loss can be evaluated in certain test methods.

7

What official (government or regulatory) standards must a plastic meet to be certified biodegradable?
For anaerobic biodegradation: The American Society for testing and materials (ASTM) has established a number of scientific and technological tests to measure true biodegradation in plastic products. The ASTMD5511, equivalent to ISO DIS15985 (International Standards), measures biodegradation % in biologically active landfills.

For aerobic biodegradation: According to the ASTM, compostable plastic is plastic which is capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials and leaves no toxic residue. The ASTM test for measuring biodegradation % of a compostable plastic is ASTM D5338 (ISO 14855), and results are compared to standards laid out in ASTM D6400 (EN 13432).

8

What does compostable actually mean?
A compostable product is one that can aerobically biodegrade. Composting is a process that turns organic materials into a dark, rich substance called compost or humus, a wonderful conditioner for soil. Composting is a process of controlled biodegradation outside of a landfill (at home or at a managed industrial facility). Compost is produced through the activity of aerobic (oxygen requiring) microorganisms. These microbes require oxygen, moisture, and food in order to grow and multiply. When these factors are maintained at optimal levels, the natural decomposition process is greatly accelerated. The microbes generate heat, water vapor, and carbon dioxide as they transform raw materials into a stable soil conditioner.

9

What makes plastic compostable?
According to American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), for plastic to be considered compostable it must meet 3 criteria

it must biodegrade, that is, be able to break down to carbon dioxide, water and biomass
it must disintegrate, that is, it should be visually indistinguishable after breaking down and look like compost remains must be non-toxic and support plant life ASTM 6400 specifies conditions for commercial/industrial composting. Home composting on the other hand would take 2-3 times longer.

10

What are commercial composting sites?
Active composting is typically characterized by a high-temperature phase that sanitizes the product and allows a high rate of decomposition, followed by a lower-temperature phase that allows the product to stabilize while still decomposing at a lower rate.

Commercial composting facilities provide the best composting conditions. Commercial composting facilities properly maintain and regulate their piles to assure ideal composting conditions exist. Commercial facilities regularly turn or aerate their piles and monitor the internal temperature to assure it is between 105 and 145 F.

11

Isn t composting better than sending waste to landfills?
Yes. Very few plastic products can be composted, but those that can, when placed into commercial compost facilities, do in fact biodegrade under the professional conditions these plants maintain. Composting avoids the issue of dealing with methane that is emitted by materials biodegrading in a landfill. Secondly, by definition, it does not leave behind toxins. However, unlike Europe there are only a handful of commercial composting facilities operating in the USA that accept compostable plastic. Moreover, consumers do not have direct access to discard their products in compost facilities and therefore the majority of plastic products end up in landfills.

12

What is the difference between compostable and biodegradable?
Biodegradation is an element of the compositing process. A plastic may be biodegradable but not compostable PER ASTM 6400 if it breaks down too slowly or leaves toxic residue. The biodegradation process can occur in a landfill or in a compost site.

13

What is a landfill?
Landfills often serve as ultimate receptors for residential, commercial and industrial wastes. Modern landfills are well-engineered facilities that are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Modern bioreactor landfills, unlike the previous "dry tomb" landfills, recirculate leachate to enhance microbial process and achieve rapid degradation. Many even pre-wet the waste. Solid waste landfills must be designed to protect the environment from contaminants which may be present in the solid waste stream. The landfill siting plan which prevents the siting of landfills in environmentally-sensitive areas as well as on-site environmental monitoring systems which monitor for any sign of groundwater contamination and for landfill gas provide additional safeguards. In addition, many new landfills collect potentially harmful landfill gas emissions and convert the gas into energy.

14

What are the EPA facts on plastic and landfills?
In 2008, the United States generated about:

13 million tons of plastics in the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream as containers and packaging
Almost 7 million tons as nondurable goods
About 11 million tons as durable goods
The total amount of plastics in MSW about 30 million tons represented 12% of total MSW generation in 2008
The amount of plastics generation in MSW has increased from less than 1% in 1960 to 12% in 2008
Plastics are a rapidly growing segment of the MSW stream
The largest category of plastics are found in containers and packaging (e.g., soft drink bottles, lids, shampoo bottles), but they also are found in durable (e.g., appliances, furniture) and nondurable goods (e.g., diapers, trash bags, cups and utensils, medical devices).
In 2008 only 6.8% of all plastics were recycled as compared to 50% of all paper
Of the billion plastic bags given out each day, only 1-3% are being recycled
About 38 billion water bottles end up in landfills each year
It is estimated that it will take up to 1000 years or longer for a plastic bottle or bag to decompose after it is buried in a landfill!

15

What is methane off-gassing and recapture?
Landfills all over the country are beginning to tap the methane from the natural breakdown of organic materials and use it for energy.

Methane is a primary constituent of landfill gas (LFG) and a potent greenhouse gas when released to the atmosphere. Reducing emissions by capturing LFG and using it as an energy source can yield substantial energy, economic, and environmental benefits. The implementation of landfill gas energy projects reduces greenhouse gas emission and air pollutants, leading to improved air quality and reduced possible health risks. LFG projects also improve energy independence, produce cost savings, create jobs, and help local economies. Internationally, significant opportunities exist for expanding landfill gas energy.

16

Is the EPA or any government agency involved actively in the methane recapture initiative?
Anaerobic digestion facilities have been recognized by the United Nations Development Program as one of the most decentralized sources of energy supply. US EPA is heavily promoting this renewable source of energy through its Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP) and predicts one in two landfills will be part of this program in the coming few years.

17

Is promotion of Landfill Gas (LFG) energy in conflict with conservation and recycling efforts?
No. In fact it is a complementary activity to waste reduction and diversion (to recycling, composing) efforts. LFG energy projects become critical for waste that has not been successfully averted or diverted from landfills.