Linpac launches oxo-bio film on market demand

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Biodegradation Microbial biodegradation Biodegradable plastic Linpac

Linpac has launched an oxo-biodegrable polyethylene-based film in response to retail and consumer concerns over packaging waste.

The UK company said its OxoLIN degradable PE cling film was the latest addition to its range and was suitable for any food product. It said the film would reduce the environmental impact of littering and help address growing unease over the amount of packaging going to landfill.

Linpac stressed the introduction of the film was a commercial decision based on particular demand both from its customers and the market.

“Linpac has responded to specific customer requirements,”​ a company spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com. “We are also supplying biodegradable products, but we are not seeing demand anywhere in Europe for these in any significant volume.”

Properties

The oxo-bio film has the same performance properties as Linpac’s other films in terms of clarity and tear resistance, said the company. Available in either mother rolls or refill rolls, the film complies with EU plastic food contact directives, as well as packaging and packaging waste directives, added a Linpac statement.

The film has a shelf life of over 12 months but will degrade after use in one to four years.

Patrice Blayo, product manager for stretch films at Linpac Packaging, said: “The food industry has been asking for a degradable film to meet environmental concerns. We have responded by creating OxoLIN and ensuring its properties meet the high standards already set by our range of stretch films. The natural additives have been carefully selected to ensure the performance of the film is not affected.”

Oxo-bio debate

Oxo-degradable plastics are made of petroleum-based polymers - usually polyethylene - which contain additives. The oxo-biodegradation industry says its plastics “self-destruct” or biodegrade when they are exposed to UV irradiation or heat because substances such as cobalt, nickel and zinc are added to conventional plastics at the time of manufacture. These reduce the molecular weight of the material over a pre-determined period and they fragment – allowing them to be consumed by bacteria and fungi.

The technology has provoked heated debate with detractors questioning whether oxo-bio packaging does indeed biodegrade or merely break down into minute particles invisible to the naked eye, without alteration to their composition. Most recently, the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) raised concerns about their impact on the environment once they break down into smaller pieces. Research funded by the regulatory body challenged the environmental credentials of oxo-biodegradable plastics and said the materials are suitable for neither conventional recycling nor composting.

But the Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA) and UK producer Symphony have rejected such criticisms. They say the standards used to verify the biodegradability of its products are legitimate and that claims made by the industry are founded on solid science.

Related topics Processing & packaging

Related news

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars