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1.      What is a biodegradable bag?

2.      What is a degradable plastic bag (sometimes also known as oxo-biodegradable bag)?

3.      Will PE + degradable additives make the bags finally biodegrade to become carbon dioxide and water?

4.      Why do people want to make a conventional PE/PP bag degrade?

5.      What are the differences between a biodegradable and a totally degradable bag?

6.      What is oxo-biodegradable? What are the differences between oxo-biodegradable and biodegradable?

7.      Which type do EnbioBags belong to?

8.      Does EnbioBags contain conventional plastics like PE or PP?

9.      Does EnbioMat requires to mix with PE to produce films by extrusion?

10.    Are EnbioBags biodegradable and compostable?

11.    Any testing certificate obtained for EnbioBags?

12.    What are the characteristics of EnbioBags?

13.    Are there any printing restrictions for EnbioBags?

14.    What is EBM's production capacity?

15.    What is the main application for EnbioBag?

16.    How many days for EnbioBags to biodegrade in natural wide environment or soil?

17.    What is the shelf life of Enbiobags?

18.    Is EnbioBag transparent?

19.    What is the physical performance of EnbioBag?

20.    What is the specific gravity of EnbioBag?

21.    What is the minimum thickness of an EnbioBag?

22.    Which type of bag should I use?

23.    Can EnbioBag be dyed to become different colours?

24.    Why EnbioBags are always produced in roll form?

25.    What are the differences between an EnbioBag produced by EBM and other similar bags produced by other suppliers in the region?

26.    Do you have any samples?  Are these samples free of charges?

27.    How many days does it take for an EnbioBag to biodegrade completely?

28.    Some bag suppliers said their PE bags (with additives added) are totally degradable and have been certified by ASTM D6954.  Is it true? What is ASTM D6954?

29.    Someone said degradable bag (PE + additives or starch + PE), although not completely/fully biodegradable, at least something eco-friendly, a step towards environmentally friendly, is it true?

1.     What is a biodegradable bag?

.Biodegradation is the breakdown of an organic compound by micro-organisms into CO2 , water and mineral salts of any other elements present (mineralization) plus new biomass in a controlled environment by method of composting.. 

A bag claimed to be biodegradable should have >=90% of the total organic carbon of that bag being converted to CO2 & water by the end of the test period (i.e. 180 days)..

For bags consisting of a single polymer, 60% of the total organic carbon must be converted to carbon dioxide by the end of the test period (usually 180 days); for bags consisting of more than one polymers, 90% of the total organic carbon must be converted to carbon dioxide by the end of the test period

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2.     What is a degradable plastic bag (sometimes also known as oxo-biodegradable bags)?

 

Degradable or totally degradable plastic bag (sometimes also known as oxo-biodegradable bags) is a plastic bag with certain percentage (usually 1% to 3%) of light/heat sensitive additives added to it such that when this plastic bag is sufficiently exposed to sunlight (UV), heat or stress etc., it will trigger breaking down of the long & large plastic molecules to become smaller fragments or smaller molecules by means of oxidation. This process is also known as fragmentation or disintegration or oxidative degradation.

 

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3.     Will PE + degradable additives make the bags finally biodegrade to become carbon dioxide and water?

 

Yes, but not in 180 days, even in a controlled composting environment, the biodegradation cannot reach the required 90% and therefore, according to the definition of biodegradability, such product cannot be claimed a biodegradable product.

In fact, without a time frame, all materials are biodegradable materials.  Even for a conventional plastic bag (like PP/PE), it will be totally biodegraded into carbon monoxide/dioxide and water in about 400 to 1,000 years.

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4.     Why do people want to make a conventional PE/PP bag degrade?

 

Many people think pollution caused by plastic products like plastic bags is because plastics do not degrade.  They believe if they can make plastic degrades, then there will be no more pollution because these bags will be out of sight.  Therefore, different UV sensitive metallic ions are added to make the excellent performing plastics to loss its outstanding physical performance: strength and elongation.

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5.     What are the difference between a biodegradable and totally degradable bag (sometimes also known as oxo-biodegradable bags)?

 

There are basically three different ways to turn a very long polymer (no matter it is plastic or others) into numerous smaller fragments (also known as oligomers or polymer fragments), being hydrolytic, oxidative and enzymatic means.  When such long polymers were turned into much smaller oligomers or polymer fragments by any one of the three means above, we call this process Degradation and the substance being degraded a degradable substance. However, only if all above fragmented residues consumed by microbes as a food and energy source in defined time (180 days) and environment, then the process can be called Biodegradation and the substance being biodegraded a biodegradable substance.

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6.     What is Oxo-biodegradable, what are the difference between Oxo-biodegradable and biodegradable?

 

OXO-biodegradable means oxidation of conventional plastics when exposed to sufficient UV or heat source.  After such triggering of fragmentation, biodegradable may taken place but in a much slower speed and cannot be completed in defined timeframe for biodegradation i.e. 180 days in a controlled composting environment. 

Biodegradation has no such prerequisite.  No oxidation is required.  The only requirement is the present of microbes.  Biodegradation can be completed in 180 days (usually takes about 45 days to 90 days only) in a controlled composting environment.

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7.      Which type does an Enbiobag belongs to?

 

EnbioBag is a fully compostable and biodegradable bag made of annually renewable and bio-based resources, and has been certified by HS2001 (), EN13432 (), ASTM D6400 (), GBT19277 () & ISO14855(). 

In a controlled composting environment, an EnbioBag will be completely turned into carbon dioxide and water in less than 180 days (usually it takes about 45 to 60 days only), without leaving any toxic residues.

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8.      Does an EnbioBag contains any conventional plastics like PE or PP?

 

NO. All the ingredients used to produce EnbioBag are fully compostable and biodegradable during composting and free of any PE or PP.

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9.      Does EnbioMat requires to mix with PE to produce films by extrusion?

 

Not required and should not do so.  EnbioMat is well formulated that it can be applied directly in conventional extruders for LDPE.  The addition of PE, even it is as little as just 1%, will ruin the whole bag and make the bag become a non-biodegradable bag, despite the fact that the rest of 99% is still biodegradable.  This is because according to ASTM D6400-04 or EN13432, any ingredient >1% in the final product must be proved that it is biodegradable itself (1% rule).  As PE is not a biodegradable material, therefore you should not add any PE to EnbioMat during extrusion.  This explains why PE + additives bag should not and cannot described as a biodegradable bag.

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10.    Is EnbioBag biodegradable and compostable?

 

Yes, EnbioBag is fully compostable and fully biodegradable during composting.  Testing done according to HS2001 (), EN13432 (), ASTM D6400 (), GBT19277 () & ISO14855() have proved and certified that EnbioBag is fully compostable and fully biodegradable during composting. Vincotte, Belgium has issued OK Compost Conformity () and BPI, USA has issued BPI Compostable () to us to prove that EnbioBag is a fully compostable and fully biodegradable bag.

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11.    Any testing certificates obtained for EnbioBag?

 

Yes, EnbioBag is made of a specifically formulated material to meet the strictest requirements for biodegradability and composting required & has been tested and certified by:

*                    HS2001 (),

*                    EN13432 (),

*                    ASTM D6400 (),

*                    GBT19277 () &

*                    ISO14855()

*                    OK Compost ()

*                    BPI ()

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12.    What are the main characteristics of EnbioBag?

           Made mainly from annually renewable bio-base materials such as corn starch, fruit acids etc.; contains NO any conventional plastics like PE, PP etc.

           fully compostable and fully biodegradable during composting

           Can be processed directly in conventional extruders, injection moulds

           Can be printed directly using normal ink

           Needs NO more ultra-violet light exposure, strong heat source or pressure to trigger biodegradation, they completely decomposed directly by microorganisms generally present in the earth.

           No chemicals added to accelerate degradation, therefore no toxic residue will be left after full biodegradation

           Release close to zero net CO2 (conventional plastics release net positive CO2 to the Earth )

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13.    Is there any printing restrictions for EnbioBags?

 

Technically NO, printing on EnbioBag is same as printing on conventional plastic bags. However, in order to meet ASTM D6400-04 and EN13432's strict requirements, the total dry weight of the ink to be printed on the bag should be less than 1% (1% rule), otherwise a biodegradable ink must be used.  For environmental & cost sake, we encourage simple printing, like a logo and a simple statement....remember "Less is Beauty"

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14.    What is EBM's production capacity?

 

Currently maximum production is about 500 metric tons per month but can expand to 1,000 metric tons per month in 6 months.

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15.    What are the main applications for EnbioBag?

         All types of bags like: garment packaging bags, t-shirt bags (or known as vest bags or singlet bags), die-cut bags, garbage bags (trash bags), bin liners, soft-loop bags, draw-string bags, laundry bags, and other type of shopping bags, gift and premium bags

         doggie bags (for dog poop), mulch films, agriculture films

         gloves, apron, raincoats, magazine envelope bags, envelope bags for greeting cards etc.

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16.    How many days for EnbioBag to biodegrade in natural wide environment or soil?

 

It is difficult to say because all the testing are referred in a controlled composting environment.  In the wild environment, since temperature, relative humidity, density of microbes, etc. varies from one location to another, the rate of biodegradation will vary accordingly.

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17.    What is the shelf life of an EnbioBag?

 

In properly packed bags, the shelf life is approximately 18 months to 24 months. Please see paragraph 27 below as well.

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18.    Is EnbioBag transparent?

 

At about 30 microns (0.03mm), the clarity for EnbioBag is about 70% to 80% the clarity of PE.  The thinner the bags is, the higher will be the clarity and vice versa.

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19.    What is the physical performance of an EnbioBag?

Sample Ref.:

Thickness (mm)

Average elongation test (N)

Average elongation test (MPa)

The test was carried out at 22ºC according to GB13022-91

Sample I

0.020

2.8 / 4.5

22 / 36

Sample II

0.030

4.5 / 5.4

26 / 32

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20.    What is the specific gravity of EnbioMat/EnbioBag?

The specific gravity of EnbioMat is 1.24-1.26 g/cm3

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21.    What is the minimum thickness of an EnbioBag?

 

EnbioBag can be made as thin as 0.012mm or 12 microns.

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22.   Which type of bag should I choose to use?

 

If you are going to use a bag for your kitchen organic wastes, then since your bag will be disposed of together with the kitchen organic at the same time, your bag must be biodegradable and compostable as well.  In this case, you should use a fully biodegradable and compostable bag.  EnbioBag can meet all of your requirements in this case.

If your waste is not organic or non-biodegradable, you can choose conventional plastic bags or you can still choose biodegradable and compostable bags.  This is because the greatest value of a biodegradable bag is to be disposed of together with your organic waste.  When your waste is not decomposable organic, its value reduced.  However, for sake of environmentally friendly, minimize net carbon dioxide release and to reduce reliance on non-renewable petroleum resources, use of biodegradable, compostable and annually renewable bag will help you to achieve this objective.

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23.  Can EnbioBag be dyed to become different colours?

 

Yes, EnbioBags natural colour is semi-transparent. You can choose to dye the bag to become red, green, black......or white colour, but the master batch for pigment must itself biodegradable and compostable as stipulated in ASTM D6400-04 and EN13432. In other words, the conventional master batch for generic plastics cannot be used because the carrier used is normally conventional plastics only, e.g. PE or PP.

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24.  Why EnbioBags are always produced in roll form?

 

PEs density is about 0.92 while EnbioBag is about 1.29. Given same thickness, EnbioBag film is 40% heavier than PE film. When the film is made at thickness of less than 0.03mm, its weight is so heavy that it cannot smoothly be cut and well packed in a stack, bags in roll can well solve this issue. Therefore, bin liners (usually in thickness of 0.012mm to 0.02xmm) in a roll of 15, 20, 31, 50pcs are common.

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 25.  What are the differences between EnbioBag produced by EBM and other similar bags produced by other suppliers in the region?

 

We don't know how other people work, but working with EBM means you are working with a company which provided only bags that are fully compostable and fully biodegradable during Using EnbioBag means you are using a fully compostable and fully biodegradable bag that had met all the strictest requirements for biodegradability and composting as stipulated in HS2001 (), EN13432 (), ASTM D6400 (), GBT19277 () & ISO14855().

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26.  Do you have any samples?  Are these samples free of charges?

 

Our samples are all free of charge.  For overseas please be advised that freight charges will be on fright collect basis. Please give us your detailed contact information including company name, address, contact person and contact numbers as well as your email address for communication purpose.  We will arrange related samples within a week.

If you need tailor-made samples, please call us for special arrangement and details of charges where applicable.

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27.    How many days does it take for an EnbioBag to biodegrade completely?

 

According to data shown in our testing done according to EN13432, ASTM D6400-04 and ISO14855, in controlled testing environment, our film will be fully biodegraded to become carbon dioxide (CO2) and water in just about 36 days to 45 days, and fully decomposed to small fragments (with diameter <2mm) (this process is known as composting) in about 8 weeks.

So does it mean EnbioBag can only be stored for just about 8 weeks and must be consumed in 8 weeks after purchasing otherwise the bags can no longer be used or will disappear?  The answer is NO.  This is because without rich microbes and proper temperature like that in the commercial composting centre, biodegradation would not take place.

If it does not disappear in room condition, then does it mean it will be there forever and can be used at any time?  The answer is: Without microbes, biodegradation would not take place and so it will be there forever.  However, its strength will be weakened as time goes by.  The shelf life is about 12 to 18 months in proper packed bags. 

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28.   Some bags suppliers said their degradable PE bags (with additives added) are totally degradable or someone would call it oxo-biodegradable and have been certified by ASTM D6954.  Is it true? What is ASTM D6954?

 

You can see they just called it degradable or oxo-biodegradable but not directly and simply call it biodegradable. This is clear and very easy to understand because they are simply not biodegradable but simply just can be degrade. Triggering degradation needs the bags be exposed to sunlight (actually is ultraviolet light (UV)). Without this pre-exposure, degradation/fragmentation of large piece into smaller fragments would not occur.

 

ASTM D6954 divided into 3 tiers.  Tier 1 is simulating the first oxidation process through respectively thermal degradation and UV degradation. As soon as the oxo-degradable plastic has reached 5% or less elongation at break and the fragmented parts show an average molecular weight of 5,000 or less, Tier 2 can be initiated. Such oxidation process is described in details in ASTM D5510 and ASTM D5208 while method of measuring molecular weight is guided by ASTM D3826-98 (reapproved 2013).

 

Tier 2 is similar to ASTM D6400 testing, using the residues obtained in Tier 1 above and the detail steps are guided by ASTM D5338, ASTM D5988 and ASTN D5526.

 

a) For products consisting of a single polymer (homopolymers or random copolymers), 60 % of the organic carbon must be converted to carbon dioxide by the end of the test period (180 days), when compared to the positive control.


b) For products consisting of more than one polymer (block copolymers, segmented copolymers, blends, or addition of low molecular weight additives), 90 % of the organic carbon must be converted to carbon dioxide by the end of the test period (180 days), when compared to the positive control.


c) For products consisting of more than one polymer, each individual polymer component, present at more than 1 % concentration, must achieve the 60 % specification for homo-polymers, as described in a) above.

Tier 3 is toxicity testing.

 

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29.     Someone said degradable bag (PE + additives or starch + PE), although not completely/fully biodegradable, at least something eco-friendly, a step towards environmentally friendly, is it true?

 

Definitely NOT TRUE.

1.One of the greatest Eco Friendly activities is recycling.  With additives added to plastics, these types of plastic bags will immediately have very low recycling value because the objective of adding these additives is to make these bags decompose more easily and more quickly.  Decompose more easily and more quickly means greatly loss/reduce strength/physical properties of bags which are the greatest value of recycled plastics.  With the presence of these destructive additives in plastic bags, it makes plastic recycling activities almost valueless or impossible.  If these type of activities do not stop, the supply of 100% recycled garbage bags will quickly and greatly affected. Why don't we try our best to recycle these valuable & recyclable plastics but make it degrade into valueless fragments?

2.PE + additives (or starch + PE) plastic bags, no matter how they are being called (someone called it oxo-biodegradable, someone called it totally degradable plastics and someone even called they biodegradable) are not compostable (if you don't believe, you can simply ask US Composting Council (USCC)) and therefore cannot be used for kitchen organics. So, what is the point of making a very good performing and with great recycling value bag degradable?

3.Degradable bags as normal garbage bags for normal non-recyclable waste (also non organic waste) and then go to landfill or burning/incinerating.  However, since these bags have no chance to be exposed to sun light (in fact should be Ultra Violet light) for long time, therefore, the chance to be degraded is very low, if not impossible.  In such case, degradable or non-degradable is meaningless and makes no difference.  If these bags are for incinerating, then other than the issue of burning plastics which may have risk of emitting toxic substance such as Dioxin, again it makes no difference whether the bag is degradable or non-degradable.  So again, what is the point of making a very good performing and with great recycling value bag degradable?

4.Since light, strong heat source are critical to the decompose of a degradable plastics to become numerous small fragments, does it mean you need to have these bags to be in the wild in order to have chance to be exposed to sunlight? So does it imply you are not going to recycle the bags but simply thrown them away after use? Is such throwing away behaviour an eco-friendly behaviour?

5.As degradable plastic is not a complete degradation process in short period of time (e.g. 180 days), therefore, such partially degradable plastics will create numerous smaller fragments in the wild.  With the wind blowing, you can image how these smaller fragments being scattered everywhere, rivers, agriculture lands, reservoirs, sea shores, etc.  You can image as well if fishes in the river and those marine lives eat them. According to Science 2004, these fragments have been steadily accumulated in the ocean, and, Flotsam Lab experiments showed that marine animals consume microscopic bits of plastic, but remain and accumulate in the digestive tracts of these marine animals.

6.    According to Algalita Marine Research Foundation's report, plastic scraps can attract and hold hydrophobic elements like DDT & PCB up to one million (1,000,000) times background level.  As a result, floating plastic resulted from those partially degradable plastics is like a "poison pill" - which are endocrine disruptors.

7.According to Mato et al Environ. Sci. Technol 2001, 35, 318-324, PCBs, DDT and nonylphenols (NP) were detected in high concentrations in degraded PP resin pellets collected from 4 Japanese coasts, and plastic residues from partially degradable plastics function as a transport medium for toxic chemicals in the marine environment.

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