Up to 10% compostable plastic can be included in plastics streams says study


A study has said that no or negligible impact on the mechanical performance of recyclates is seen if up to 10 per cent compostable plastics are mixed with conventional plastics.

This is the finding of a meta-study published by European Bioplastics.


Bioplastics are biobased, compostable or both with biobased plastics films chemically identical to their conventional counterparts.

But compostable plastics are designed for organic recycling, carry the seedling logo, and should be collected for this purpose.

However, in the event that compostable plastics end up in recycling streams, the prevalent sorting systems are able to sort them with little residual waste, according to the study.

European Bioplastics chairman Francois de Bie said: “Studies and field trials have demonstrated that in the uneventful case a small fraction of compostable plastics ends up in the PE recycle stream, this does in no way negatively impact the quality of the recycling stream.

“Remaining amounts are easier to handle than other residual wastes in the polyethylene (PE) stream such as polystyrene or polypropylene.”

Studies were undertaken by the Institute of Bioplastics and Biocomposites (University of Applied Arts and Sciences Hannover), the Italian National Packaging Consortium and the company BIOTEC.

The study is available here http://en.european-bioplastics.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/publications/Bioplastic_films_in_mechanical_recycling_streams.pdf