Thorough research commissioned by Italian bioplastics manufacturer Novamont shows that Mater-Bi, which is produced by the company, will completely biodegrade in the marine environment. Despite the presented evidence of Mater-Bi’s biodegradability, Novamont is, however, keen to stress that this is not an excuse for the improper disposal of Mater-bi packaging or bioplastics products in general.
The marine biodegradability of Mater-Bi
During a press conference in Rome earlier this month, the Italian company stated that that tests carried out by its own laboratories, the HYDRA Institute for Marine Science in Germany and the University of Siena, showed that Mater-Bi biodegradable bags biodegraded fully in the marine environment. These tests demonstrated that samples of Mater-Bi fruit and vegetable bags biodegraded in the sea similarly to cellulosic materials (e.g. paper), they disappeared completely in a period of time ranging from less than four months to just over a year, with the speeds of biodegradation increasing as the size of the bioplastic pieces decreased. This means that small particles of plastic, called microplastics, created by the biodegradation of Mater-Bi are not persistent in the environment as they fully biodegrade after 20-30 days.
A mitigation factor, not a permit for irresponsible behaviour
According to Novamont, this can act as a ‘mitigation factor’ if bags were to end up in the ocean. The company however emphasizes that this is by no means a commercial message. Their approach seeks to prevent the pollution of waterways and the marine environment, 80% of which is caused by inadequate management of waste on land. All products must be collected and recycled, including biodegradable products from Mater-Bi, which should be collected separately with organic waste and composted in (industrial) composting facilities. In any event, nothing must be discarded irresponsibly whether on the ground or in the sea.
Next to the fact that Mater-Bi is fully marine biodegradable, it is of course also industrially compostable according to EN 13432 (OK Compost) and in many cases even home compostable (OK Compost HOME). In our range we have fresh produce, carrier and waste bags made of Mater-Bi.
Click here for more extensive information about Novamont’s Mater-Bi studies.