What is different about those new biodegradable water bottles?



  1. 0 Votes

    The chemical composition of the plastic is such that the bonds are more easily broken by natural sunlight and exposure to heat, humidity and moisture. Plastics are polymers that are very tough to destroy (break the bonds between the chains of molecules), but the newer bio-degradable plastics are more like organic compounds, meaning that they are easily broken down and re-fertilized into new plant material (i.e. food). Wikipedia has good coverage on the topic — apparently there are two varieties: one is more like what I was talking about (“composed of either bioplastics, which are plastics whose components are derived from renewable raw materials”) and the other is more like what you get in a Dasani or Deer Park bottle (looks exactly like real plastic, only they claim it is biodegradable) — ” petroleum-based plastics which utilize an additive”  — I think the following goes for the latter of the two:


    “The use of bio-active compounds compounded with swelling agents ensures that, when combined with heat and moisture, they expand the plastic’s molecular structure and allow the bio-active compounds to metabolize and neutralize the plastic.” — from wikipedia.org



    EcoPure technology is a process which enables the microorganisms in the environment to metabolize the molecular structure of most common plastics into an inert humus-like form that is harmless to the environment. Resulting in the biodegradation of the plastic materials.

    EcoPure process takes organic compounds, mixed with nutrients, a carrier resin to enable the biodegradation of polymers. After we create space within the plastic’s matrix, EcoPure’s combination of organic compounds and nutrients, attract colonies of microorganisms that metabolize and neutralize the plastic through intense quorum sensing rapidly increasing the timeframe of biodegradation. This is what makes our product so unique.



    In addition, the biodegradability of plastics with EcoPure added does not jeopardize the products quality and for clear applications, such as bottles or films, EcoPure G2 is now available. Both are safe for food and drug use.


    From the second link 



    And this is an even better source which has a lot of the science involved…  



    Excerpt from above article below:

    Plastics are all long chains of atoms, strongly bonded together to give them great technical properties like the ability to withstand a charge of high-pressure carbon dioxide or contain water without breaking down even when you forget the bottles in the trunk of your car on a sunny day. These long chains are called “polymers”.

    You know how hard it is to eat spaghetti? Well, polymers are like spaghetti to microbes. Very few microbes have developed knives (called enzymes in micro-world) which can cut through polymer chains. And the chains are just too long for the microbes to get their mouths around. (Having already risked entering annoying analogy territory, we will leave off anthropomorphizing micro-mouths.)

    Chemists were faced with a real challenge: how to develop a new plastic as strong and moldable as traditional plastic but which can be eaten by bugs living in landfills or compost heaps. The challenge is being answered with a new bag of tricks. The trick being used by ENSO is to pepper the polymers with additives that do two things: 1) attract the microbes, which otherwise don’t think of plastic as “food;” and 2) help break the polymers down into bite-size pieces, allowing the microbes to attack and digest a bottle in 250 days under ideal landfill-like conditions — as opposed to 500 years for traditional plastics.



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