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FAQ Nr. 01

Question: What are the standards for biodegradation?


Answer:
The main standards for biodegradation (i.e. laboratory methods to determine the biodegradation of a polymer) are: - ISO14855 (Title: Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions - method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide.)
http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=40617 - ISO14851 and ISO14852 (Biodegradation in an aqueous medium by using an active sludge microbic inoculum) http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=25765 http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=25766 - ISO17556 (Biodegradation in soil) http://www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/catalogue_tc/catalogue_detail.htm?csnumber=30743

Date: 26/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 02

Question: Which requisite is measured by the biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity methods?


Answer:
Biodegradation: determination of the evolved carbon dioxide or of the oxygen consumed during the microbic activity on the test material Disintegration: evaluation of the fragmentation of test material after the composting process Ecotoxicity: evaluation of the toxic effects of materials on the environment, after degradation, by means of specific tests on various plant species. (http://www.cen.eu/catweb/cwen.htm ; http://www.iso.org/iso/store.htm )

Date: 26/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 03

Question: What is disintegration under composting conditions?


Answer:
Disintegration under composting conditions is the fragmentation of a material into small particles that takes place during a composting cycle: at the end of the cycle the material can no longer be seen or distinguished from the compost. The disintegration time is determined by the composting cycle (whichever composting technology is adopted in a composting plant).

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 04

Question: How much time does Mater-Bi® require to start disintegrating under composting conditions?


Answer:
Under composting conditions, Mater-Bi® starts disintegrating after a few days; disintegration will be complete by the end of the composting cycle, when compost is mature.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 05

Question: What does compostable mean?


Answer:
When referred to a plastic material, the term compostable means that it is compatible with the composting process. The compostability of packaging and of plastic materials is regulated by two European standards, EN 13432 and EN 14995 respectively. In practical terms, compostability means that a material: a) is biodegradable under composting conditions b) disintegrates completely in one composting cycle c) has no toxic effects and does not release heavy metals into the compost obtained at the end of the process d) has no negative effects on the composting process itself.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 06

Question: What does composting mean?


Answer:
Composting is a controlled bio-oxidative process that takes place in a solid state, mixed organic substrate; it starts with an initial thermophile stage, and produces carbon dioxide, water and compost.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 07

Question: Under which environmental conditions does Mater-Bi® degrade?


Answer:
Biodegradation is the main process by which Mater-Bi® decomposes. Nevertheless, exposure to UV rays and to the various environmental conditions in general, can bring about abiotic degradation. Under some circumstances, photodegradation, thermal degradation and hydrolysis may act in a synergistic way with biodegradation, but this does not require any activation phase to start.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 08

Question: How long does it take for Mater-Bi® to start disintegrating in a landfill?


Answer:
The conditions found in landfills (non-active, sealed landfills) are generally not conducive to biodegradation. As a consequence, Mater-Bi® is expected not to contribute significantly to biogas formation in a landfill. This has been shown in a study carried out by Organic Waste systems.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 09

Question: How long does it take for Mater-Bi® to start disintegrating if it is disposed of in the environment?


Answer:
Granted that disposing of any waste (including biodegradable waste) in the environment is not something that should be encouraged, under any circumstances, if Mater-Bi® accidentally ends up in the environment, how long it takes for the biodegradation process to start would depend on the weather conditions (temperature, humidity) and on the environment in which the Mater-Bi has been disposed of. Unlike what happens in special composting plants, which treat the disposal of organic and biodegradable waste under controlled working conditions, in the environment, these conditions cannot be controlled; therefore, the time necessary for the biodegradation to start cannot be known beforehand.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 10

Question: How long does it take for Mater-Bi® to start disintegrating in a sea environment?


Answer:
Most Mater-Bi® resins are not water soluble. Therefore, disintegration will not start immediately, but will reqiure several months for it to be achieved, primarily through hydrolysis. A number of studies are underway to investigate the behaviour of Mater-Bi® in these environments.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 11

Question: How are products in Mater-Bi®, whose thickness is greater than that certified, disposed of?


Answer:
Products made of Mater-Bi® are compostable only if their thickness is equal to or less than the thickness of the samples that have been tested. This thickness is indicated in the compostability certificates, and may be requested from Novamont. Products made of Mater-Bi®, whose thickness is greater than the maximum available may be disposed of using the normal waste collection methods. These products are not suitable for organic recovery, despite the fact that they are completely biodegradable, because of their high thickness. Similarly, wooden products that are thick are not suitable for organic recovery, even though wood is biodegradable.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 12

Question: Can Mater-Bi® be attacked by insects or other animals while the granules or products made of Mater-Bi® are being stored?


Answer:
Like conventional plastics, Mater-Bi® can be attached by insects or animals (e.g. rodents). Consequently, the normal precautions for storing plastic materials should be adopted (use of hermetically-sealed packaging, period disinfestations and rat extermination in the storage area). Products in Mater-Bi® must also be stored with the same precautions, particularly, the bobbins of Mater-Bi® film.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 13

Question: Is Mater-Bi® biodegradable in the sea?


Answer:
The biodegradability of Mater-Bi® has also been demonstrated under liquid conditions, and at room temperature. This is important evidence that the material is biodegradable in water and sea environments. Further laboratory studies of the biodegradation in sea water, and disintegration tests in the sea are underway; the purpose of these is to determine how long it takes for the material to biodegrade and to disintegrate completely.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 14

Question: Is Mater-Bi® home compostable?


Answer:
Home compostability is different from industrial compostability for two main reasons: 1) the temperatures reached by the waste inside the home composting bin are usually only a few centigrade degrees higher than the outside temperature, and this is true for short time periods (in industrial composting, the temperatures reach 50°C - with peaks of 60-70°C - for a number of months); 2) home composting bins are managed by amateurs, and the composting conditions might not always be ideal (in contrast, industrial composting plants are managed by qualified personnel, and kept under ideal working conditions). The grades of Mater-Bi® for films most commonly used for managing waste are certified as "home compostable", as they biodegrade at the temperature of the environment and in a home composting bin.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 15

Question: What happens to Mater-Bi® inside anaerobic digestion plants?


Answer:
Biodegradable and compostable bags and packaging that go into an anaerobic digestion plant may undergo two different treatments. Depending on the type of 'pre-treatment'' and on the selection technology adopted in the plant, the biodegradable and compostable bags and packaging may be: - separated beforehand and sent directly to the final composting process; - not separated, and delivered to the digester, where the biodegradation will begin. The digested material, which contains the bioplastic residues, will undergo composting for final stabilising, and to produce quality compost. In both cases, the biodegradable bags and packaging have a positive impact because they contribute to optimising the efficiency of the plant by maximising the production of biogas and of high quality compost. Furthermore, using biodegradable and compostable bags and packaging instead of traditional bags and packaging, makes pre-treatment, which is known to cause considerable losses of organic material and, therefore, biogas, unnecessary.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 16

Question: What is ASTM6866, and what is used for?


Answer:
D 6866 - 05 Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Natural Range Materials Using Radiocarbon and Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Analysis. This test method can be used to determine the quantity of renewable raw material that a product contains, by measuring the radioisotope C14. What distinguishes between materials of fossil origin and renewable materials (which contain fresh biomass) is the presence of a certain quantity of C14. This is because a certain quantity of natural radioactivity is present in the biosphere and, as a result, natural products contain some C14. Therefore, the quantity of C14 measured in a product indicates the quantity of fresh biomass used in it. On the other hand, oil is not radioactive, because its radioactivity (that is, C14) decayed in the geological era.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: CERTIFICATIONS


FAQ Nr. 17

Question: Where can certification for products in Mater-Bi® be obtained?


Answer:
Products made of Mater-Bi® may be certified in accordance with regulations concerning compostability (EN13432 http://www.european-bioplastics.org/index.php?id=158, EN14995, ASTM 6400, etc.) at certifying organisations, which are specialised in this type of certification. Throughout the world, certification may be obtained from :
VINÇOTTE (Belgium) http://www.vincotte.com/Frontmodules/EN/home.asp?lang=EN
DIN CERTCO (Germany) http://www.dincertco.de/en/index.html
BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) (USA) http://www.bpiworld.org/
BNQ (Canada) http://www.bnq.qc.ca/en/index.html
JBPA (Japan) http://www.jbpaweb.net/english/english.htm

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: CERTIFICATIONS


FAQ Nr. 18

Question: Is it ethical to use starch to produce Mater-Bi®?


Answer:
Starch is a resource that is available to man, just like wood, coal and oil. Starch and wood are renewable, that is, they can be integrated into a cultivation cycle by exploiting the sun's energy. Coal and oil are limited in quantity because they are the result of a geological process that has happened only once. Starch (which can be found, for example, in cereals, like maize, wheat, etc.) can be used as food, unlike wood, coal and oil. However, these resources are no different from the point of view of their potential because they constitute a source of energy/raw material, and, therefore, can be used for the same final purposes; indeed, oil can be used to produce fertilisers and fuel for tractors, which are necessary to produce food. As a result, oil can indirectly produce food, but also renewable resources, such as starch, can be transformed into ethanol or biogas, which can be used as fuels, for example. Therefore, whether or not using a particular resource (in this case starch) is ethical should not be determined by how it is used (food, energy, etc.) but by how it is obtained (see FAQ No. 56) and exploited (quantities, geographical areas, extraction/cultivation methods, etc.)

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 19

Question: Do the maize crops for Mater-Bi® use chemical fertilisers or natural compost produced in composting plants?


Answer:
The maize used in Mater-Bi® primarily comes from maize crops in the north-east of Italy, where the standard modern farming practices are used, including crop rotation, fertilisers and irrigation.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 20

Question: What advantages are there of a bag in Mater-Bi® over a polyethylene bag?


Answer:
Using biodegradable and compostable bags increases recovery options. In addition to recovering energy and recycling, organic recovery is also possible, thanks to the biodegradability and compostability of the material. In turn, this fact may facilitate the collection of organic waste and the recycling of this as compost or biogas/compost. It has been shown that this option is highly beneficial to the environment. Biodegradable and compostable bags in Mater-Bi® are produced using technologies that are, in part, based on renewable raw materials. If we consider that fossil resources are limited, using technologies based on renewable resources becomes increasingly strategic as we move away from oil (foreign) to renewable supplies (national).

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 21

Question: What is the unusual feel of Mater-Bi® (its soft, silky touch) due to?


Answer:
The soft touch of materials in Mater-Bi® is obtained thanks to the intrinsic properties of the Novamont resin, and to the presence of natural plasticisers (as in the case of the grades that contain starch).

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 22

Question: Can Mater-Bi® be recycled together with non-biodegradable plastics?


Answer:
In general, recycling plastic is only possible if the plastic is of the same type. Usually, traditional polymers are also not compatible with each other (e.g. PVC, PC, PP, etc.). This characteristic also applies to biodegradable plastics, which must be collected in specific parts (together with organic kitchen and garden waste) and recycled by means of organic recovery (composting and biogassification).

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 23

Question: Can biodegradable plastics be recycled together with traditional plastics?


Answer:
First of all, we must explain that, from a chemical and physical point of view, the term "biodegradable plastics" refers to a number of polymers and materials. Therefore, no general conclusions may be drawn. Novamont's available data exclusively concern the recycling of Mater-Bi® with polyethylene at low density (LDPE). Films obtained with 10% Mater-Bi® in LDPE did not show significant changes in the most important mechanical characteristics.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 24

Question: What are the advantages of products made by mixing traditional polymers with starch?


Answer:
Products made with PP and starch have been well known for over 20 years. China is an important manufacturer of PE and PP loaded with starch to make products that have a short life cycle, such as trays and bags. These products are non-biodegradable, and they do not really have a positive effect on waste management. In fact, they can mislead the consumer and cause harm to the separated waste collection systems if they are put on the market with no clear indication that they are not biodegradable. Furthermore, we should also consider their limitations in recycling. These materials might be interesting for products that have a long life (cars, computers, etc.) if they perform as well as PP alone, have a similar weight, and when the options of recycling are not important.

Date: 27/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 25

Question: What is the difference in meaning between "of renewable origin" and "of fossil origin"?


Answer:
A renewable resource is put back by means of natural processes, at a rate that compares with that of its utilisation. Most polymers and industrial plastics are currently produced starting with fossil resources, which are non-renewable, as they cannot be put back at a rate that compares with their utilisation (long cycle carbon).

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 26

Question: What is the energy balance of Mater-Bi®?


Answer:
Like all human activities, producing biodegradable plastic materials that come from renewable sources has an energy cost. Novamont carries out rigorous environmental impact studies on all of its Mater-Bi® products, including biodegradation, environmental harmlessness, and Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) studies. "Cradle to gate" LCA studies show that the energy cost of producing Mater-Bi® is lower than that required to produce traditional plastics, including polyethylene.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 27

Question: Is Mater-Bi® a 'kosher' material?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is not a 'kosher' material

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 28

Question: Can Mater-Bi® be used to manufacture hygiene products?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® can be used to manufacture hygiene products for external use, provided that it conforms to the regulations for products that come into contact with foods (for those hygiene products that require this) and that it passes any specific tests required for the application in question.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 29

Question: Can Mater-Bi® be used for food packaging?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® can be used to manufacture food packaging. It behaves just like traditional plastic materials. As is the general rule for traditional plastic materials, the shelf life of foods packaged in Mater-Bi® must be suitably evaluated before a specific application for food packaging can be made commercially available.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 30

Question: In the case of food packaging made of Mater-Bi®, is there a danger that mould will start to form, or that biodegradation will begin while it is being used?


Answer:
Any contents (packaged food) will be more degradable than a biodegradable plastic film. Therefore, under any environmental conditions, the food will alter more quickly than the packaging.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 31

Question: Does Mater-Bi® conform to regulations concerning products that come into contact with foods?


Answer:
Most of the Mater-Bi® materials conform to the Italian and European regulations concerning materials and objects that can come into contact with foods. The organoleptic and technical suitability of products (migration and shelf life) that can come into contact with foods are another aspect dealt with by the same regulations that any Mater-Bi® user must assess before making a specific application of food packaging commercially available.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 32

Question: Does Mater-Bi® cause allergies?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is made from raw materials that, on the basis of the information available, are not classified as allergens. Some formulations have been tested in vivo (on a number of volunteers), and have proven to be hypoallergenic.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 33

Question: Does Mater-Bi® have an expiry date?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is a family of thermoplastic materials. It cannot be said to have an expiry date as such, because it is not perishable in the same way as food; however, like conventional plastics, Mater-Bi® is subject to ageing, its physical-mechanical characteristics deteriorate progressively. Therefore, it is recommended to use supplies of Mater-Bi® within 1 year of their delivery, unless differently suggested by Novamont. Mater-Bi® should preferably be stored at not too high temperature and humidity (for instance 23°C temperature and 50% humidity). The same storage precautions should be adopted also for Mater-Bi® based finished products.

Date: 29/09/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 34

Question: How resistant is Mater-Bi® to solvents and to acids?


Answer:
In general, Mater-Bi® is not dissolved after exposure, for 24 hours, to acetone, isopropanol, ammonia or hydrogen peroxide. It is possible, however, that these substances will cause changes in Mater-Bi®'s physical properties. Mater-Bi® is not resistant to chlorinated solvents, to THF or to oxidising acids (sulphuric and nitric).

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ NR. 35

Question: Has the land used for the production of Mater-Bi®, been deforested, or is it natural land used for industrial crops, or land on traditional farms?


Answer:
The industrial maize crops, for the production of Mater-Bi®, are grown using traditional farming methods.

Date: 28/05/2008
Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 36

Question: What will happen if Mater-Bi® is accidentally swallowed by a person or an animal?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is not toxic (the LD 50 - oral, rat - for a characteristic Mater-Bi® grade for film is >2000 mg/kg body weight) and with regard to its polymeric origin, we may assume that it is well tolerated by the digestive system of animals and expelled without negative consequences. Studies on dogs, cows and mice confirm this assumption for the Mater-Bi® grades tested. Mater-Bi® films were compared with traditional polyethylene films in order to check their effect on animal digestion. Mater-Bi® can degrade under conditions that simulate the digestive system of animals (such as turtles), while polyethylene films cannot. The test method used in the study does not simulate the peristaltic/antiperistaltic action of the intestine which, in principle, should be an important factor of degradation. This implies that the results obtained in this study might have underestimated the real degradation that occurs in the intestine. Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that swallowing a film whose mechanical properties decrease in the intestine will be less dangerous for a turtle than swallowing a non-biodegradable film. As a consequence, we can expect that Mater-Bi® will cause smaller intestinal obstructions in animals, than traditional plastics.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 37

Question: What are the ingredients of Mater-Bi®?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is not a single material, but a family of biodegradable and compostable thermoplastic materials (grades). Depending on the grade and on the final application, Mater-Bi® will contain vegetable components, such as starch, and/or biodegradable polymeric components obtained from non-renewable sources and from substances of vegetable origin.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 38

Question: What percentage of the contents of the grades of Mater-Bi® is renewable?


Answer:
The renewable content of Mater-Bi® is between 30% and 90% by weight of its constituents, depending on the grades. We should point out that the percentage of renewable content is not directly related to the ability to biodegrade. In fact, despite the range of renewable contents, all Mater-Bi® materials are completely biodegradable and suitable for composting.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 39

Question: Are starch and ingredients obtained from GMOs used to produce Mater-Bi®?


Answer:
Some consumers consider the use of raw materials obtained from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) a potential risk. This cautious attitude particularly concerns GMO-based foods. However, for biodegradable plastics, too, consumers may have some reservations or worries about using natural raw materials obtained from GMOs. Opposition to the use of GMOs sytems arises from the perception of the biological risk resulting from the creation of new inter-specific genomic combinations, whose effects on the food chain and on the environment cannot be entirely foreseen, given our current knowledge. On the other hand, the impoverishment of biodiversity, and the economic harm to local and traditional crops are both cause for concern, from both a social and an economic point of view. NOVAMONT’s policy is to acquire and use exclusively natural, non-GM, raw materials (such as starch). This objective is achieved by the traceability of the natural raw materials, that is, by a process of quality control that is applied routinely in collaboration with our suppliers. Laboratory tests are also done by outside organisations to prevent any biological risks caused by the use of synthetic additives in some grades of Mated-Bi® and by-products from multiple sources (fossil and renewable). The results obtained have shown that commercial Mater-Bi® materials are not contaminated with modified DNA. On request, NOVAMONT will provide clients with the analysis report of the grade of Mater-Bi® they are interested in, which excludes any biological risk. Furthermore, in order to keep the environmental impact to a minimum, NOVAMONT is building up its own production chain, which starts with the farmer, and ends with the biodegradable polymer (the Biorefinery project). Of course, in this case, control of the supply chain extends also to the crops, making the traceability of the raw materials even easier.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 40

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain gluten?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® contains maize or potato starch. Neither of these is one of the starches that may constitute a danger to people that are gluten-intolerant. In rare cases, the product cannot be guaranteed to be gluten-free, because of difficulties, on the part of suppliers, in handling the starches.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ NR. 41

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain animal derivatives?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® does not contain animal derivatives.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 42

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain latex or natural rubber?


Answer:
Neither latex, nor natural rubber are used in the manufacture of Mater-Bi®.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 43

Question: Where are the maize and other vegetable components used to produce Mater-Bi® currently farmed?


Answer:
The main source of the starch used to produce Mater-Bi® is maize grown in Italy. Mater-Bi® contains other components from plant sources that come from abroad. However, Novamont's main objective is to increase the amount of renewable raw materials obtained from Italian crops.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 44

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain any organic solvents?


Answer:
Solvents are not used in the production of Mater-Bi®. In particular, the following solvents are not used in the production of Mater-Bi®: Hexane, Benezene, Toluene, Diethyle ether, Chloroform, Ethyle acetate, Dichloromethane, 1,4-Dioxane,tetrahydrofuran. Acetone, Acetonitrile, Dimethylformamide, Dimethyl sulfoxide, Acetic acid, n-Butanol, Isopropyl alcohol, n-Propanol, Ethanol, Methanol, and Formic acid.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 45

Question: Is it true that Mater-Bi® does not contain either AOX (Absorbable Organically Bound Halogens) or EOX (Extractable Organic Halogens)?


Answer:
The classes of substances called AOX (Absorbable Organically Bound Halogens) and EOX (Extractable Organic Halogens) are not used in the production of the Mater-Bi® grades.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 46

Question: Are there any allergens in the Mater-Bi® formulations?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is made from raw materials that, according to available information, are not classified as allergens. Some of the formulations have been tested in vivo (on a number of volunteers), and have proven to be hypoallergenic.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 47

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain any heavy metals?


Answer:
So-called heavy metals are not deliberately used in the production of Mater-Bi®. Tests carried out have shown that traces of some of these elements are present, and confirm that Mater-Bi® conforms to the limits on heavy metals set by the directive 94/62/EC (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31994L0062:EN:HTML) , and by the standard EN13432 (http://www.european-bioplastics.org/index.php?id=158) (EN14995) on compostability.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 48

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain any phthalates?


Answer:
Compounds of the class of phthalates (typical plasticisers used in PVC) are not used in the production of Mater-Bi®. Therefore, Mater-Bi® is appropriate for the manufacture of products that conform to the directive 2005/84/EC (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:344:0040:0043:EN:PDF) on the limits of phthalates in toys. Remember, however, that, because of the widespread use of compounds of the class of phthalates, Mater-Bi® may become contaminated if placed in contact with materials (e.g. packaging) that have been plasticised with these substances. Consequently, if the intended use of the Mater-Bi® is in the manufacture of toys, we suggest you choose the packaging materials for the products, and any colour additives, carefully.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 49

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain any compounds that are classified as dangerous?


Answer:
Mater-Bi® is not made from compounds that have been classified as dangerous.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 50

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain TBT or organic tin compounds?


Answer:
Neither TBT nor similar compounds are used in the production of Mater-Bi®. Some grades of Mater-Bi® may contain traces of non dangerous organic tin compounds, as for example mono-alkylic compounds.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 51

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain NRL?


Answer:
Natural latex rubber is not used in the production of Mater-Bi®.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 52

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain bisphenol A?


Answer:
Bisphenol A is not used in the production of Mater-Bi®.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 53

Question: Does Mater-Bi® contain chlorinate compounds and/or chlorine?


Answer:
Chlorine-based compounds are not used as additives or ingredients in the production of the grades of Mater-Bi®.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 54

Question: Does Mater-Bi® conform to the directives on the restrictions of some substances used in electrical and electronic equipment and vehicles?


Answer:
Lead, chlorine, mercury and cadmium have not been used in the production of Mater-Bi® and the final amount of these elements contained in Mater-Bi® (due to natural distribution) conforms to the limits set by Directive DIR 2002/95/EC (http://europa.eu/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2003/l_037/l_03720030213en00190023.pdf ). Furthermore, Mater-Bi® is suitable for the production of final articles that conform to directive 2000/53 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32000L0053:EN:HTML) on the end life of vehicles.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 55

Question: Does Mater-Bi® conform to the directive on the restriction of brominated aromatic compounds (octaBDE, pentaBDE)?


Answer:
Neither octabromo diphenyl ether nor pentabromo diphenyl ether have been used in the production of Mater-Bi®.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: HAZARDOUS COMPONENTS


FAQ Nr. 56

Question: What proportion of the total Italian production of maize is used by Novamont?


Answer:
In order to get the total quantity of maize starch used by Novamont in 2007, it is necessary to farm about 540 hectares. According to FAO data, the area of land in Italy that was used to grow maize in 2006, was 1,107,997 hectares, which means that the area of land dedicated to the production needs of Novamont was 0.05% of the total area in Italy dedicated to producing maize.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 57

Question: What is the organic recovery of packaging?


Answer:
By organic recovery, we mean aerobic composting and anaerobic biogassification.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 58

Question: What is aerobic composting?


Answer:
Aerobic composting is a method for treating the organic part of solid urban waste, that takes place in the presence of air (hence, aerobic). It entails the biodegradation of the organic material, that is started by microorganisms. The organic waste is amassed in special plants (composting plants), where the microorganisms naturally present in the waste biodegrade the organic substances and produce carbon dioxide, water, compost and heat. The heat produced does not disperse easily, and causes a temperature increase, which accelerates the degradation reaction. Therefore, composting is an accelerated treatment system for organic waste. At the end of the process, the residual waste becomes compost.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 59

Question: What is compost?


Answer:
Compost is a substance that is similar to humus, the fertile part of the soil that is rich in organic substances. Compost is used in farming and in nursery gardening, as soil to improve the physical-mechanical structure and fertility of the soil, by adding organic substances to it. Compost is a product, and as such, must satisfy specific quality criteria and rules of law.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ nr. 60

Question: What is the organic fraction of solid urban waste?


Answer:
The organic fraction is the part that is made up of biodegradable waste, such as food scraps, kitchen scraps, the waste from fruit and vegetable markets, the waste produced in private gardens and in public parks (grass cuttings, leaves, etc.). As a result of the high intrinsic water content of this waste, it is also referred to as the humid fraction.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 61

Question: What is anaerobic biogassification?


Answer:
Anaerobic biogassification is a method for treating the organic fraction of solid urban waste, and it occurs in two phases. The first phase takes place in the absence of air (thus, anaerobic), in closed reactors. Under these anaerobic conditions, microorganisms grow that are able to biodegrade organic substances, producing biogas and residual sludge. In the second phase, the residual sludge undergoes a process of aerobic composting and becomes compost.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 62

Question: What is biogas?


Answer:
Biogas is a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide that is produced by biogassification. It is inflammable, and it can be used as gas fuel.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 63

Question: How does aerobic composting enable the recovery of packaging?


Answer:
When biodegradable and compostable packaging is collected together with the organic fraction of solid urban waste, it is converted into compost, a product used in farming and nursery gardening. Thus, the starting material present in the packaging is recycled to create a new product.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 64

Question: How does anaerobic biogassification enable the recovery of packaging?


Answer:
By converting biodegradable and compostable packaging, together with the organic fraction of solid urban waste, into biogas and compost. Biogas can be used as fuel to produce electricity and heat, while compost is a product sold in the farming sector and in nursery gardening.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 65

Question: What is the purpose of EN 13432?


Answer:
The purpose of EN 13432 is to define the technical requirements of packaging whose waste can be recovered through organic recovery.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 66

Question: Can someone that brings a specific kind of packaging onto the market determine whether it conforms to EN 13432?


Answer:
Yes, he can. The European regulations contain a self-assessment structure for determining whether or not the requirements of the regulations are met.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 67

Question: Is it easy to determine whether or not a specific form of packaging satisfies the requirements of EN 13432?


Answer:
No, it isn't. Verification of the biodegradation and compostability of packaging entails carrying out laboratory tests that require specific skills and equipment that companies that put packaging onto the market do not usually have.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 68

Question: How is it possible to bring onto the market packaging that can be recovered by organic recovery?


Answer:
A company seeking to put a form of biodegradable and compostable packaging onto the market, that wishes to meet the requirements of EN 13432, therefore, must obtain an appropriate declaration from the manufacturer of the packaging (or of the semifinished products, or of the raw materials, as appropriate). In this way, the company concerned is guaranteed by its supplier. The use of certification systems increases the guarantee, and is recommended.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 69

Question: Is using biodegradable and compostable packaging and semifinished products sufficient to ensure conformity to EN 13432?


Answer:
Yes, it is, but only if the company putting the packaging on the market does not alter the packaging or the semifinished product (e.g. by adding additives, colourings, inks, etc.), and if it respects the indications about the maximum allowed thickness. Otherwise, the company must ensure that any alterations made do not negatively affect the packaging’s characteristics in relation to EN 13432.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 70

Question: Why, for the purposes of EN 13432, is it important to know the maximum thickness allowed for the packaging concerned?


Answer:
Organic recovery requires that the packaging disintegrate within one composting cycle, in such a way that the final compost does not contain any packaging residues. Compost that contains such residues, as for example plastic scraps, has a lower value. The maximum allowed thickness defines the maximum thickness for which the packaging will still disintegrate effectively within one cycle. Greater thicknesses may cause problems.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 71

Question: Is the possibility of composting and of anaerobic biogassification of a material linked to the evaluation of a single requirement?


Answer:
No, the suitability for composting and anaerobic biogassification is linked to the simultaneous evaluation of 5 requirements, described in the EN13432 norm.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 72

Question: What are the evaluation criteria used in EN 13432?


Answer:
Characterisation, biodegradability, disintegration, quality of the compost and recognisability.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 73

Question: How is "characterisation" determined, for EN 13432?


Answer:
It consists of collecting relevant information, such as a safety data sheet, the carbon content and analysis of the metal contents.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 74

Question: How is the "biodegradability" determined, for EN 13432?


Answer:
It consists of laboratory sampling and of verifying that a certain value has been reached.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 75

Question: How is the "disintegration" determined, for EN 13432?


Answer:
It consists of laboratory sampling and of verifying that a certain value has been reached.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 76

Question: How is the "quality of the compost" determined, for EN 13432?


Answer:
The compost produced from the packaging under assessment is subjected to a series of analyses (mass, dry residue, volatile residue, salt content, pH, total nitrogen content, ammonia nitrogen, phosphor, magnesium and potassium) and the ecotoxic effects on higher plants are determined. The quality of the compost must not be negatively affected by the addition of the packaging, in comparison with a reference compost.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 77

Question: How is the "recognisability" determined, for EN 13432?


Answer:
The packaging must be recognisable as packaging that can be recovered by organic recovery. The regulations do not specify how. In practice, this is achieved by specifying the characteristic on the packaging, using labels and/or written indications.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 78

Question: Are materials of natural origin compostable?


Answer:
Not necessarily. Compostability depends on five requirements one is biodegradability. If a packaging material is natural in origin (e.g. wood, wood fibre, cotton fibre, starch, paste for paper or jute), it may be considered biodegradable. Therefore, determining the biodegradability (one of the five requirements) may be avoided. However, the other evaluations must be carried out before concluding that the material is compostable.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 79

Question: Within the contest of EN 13432 norm, is it necessary to determine the biodegradability of a material of natural origin that has been chemically modified?


Answer:
Yes, it is. To all intents and purposes, the material must be considered to be artificial in origin with unkown biodegradability behaviour. Therefore, biodegradability must be experimentally checked.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 80

Question: Within the contest of the EN13432 norm, must the final product (a packaging article) always undergo a disintegration test?


Answer:
No. It is sufficient to test the packaging materials for disintegration. If these disintegrate, the final product will too, provided that the compostability maximum thickness of the packaging materials is satisfied; such thickness is experimentally determined and generally given by the manufacturer material to the manufacturer of the packaging.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 81

Question: If two packaging materials that can be organically recovered individually, are combined to form a multi-layered structure, can this structure, in turn, be considered to be organically recoverable?


Answer:
Yes, it can, provided that the disintegrability of the new structure is confirmed and that any use of additives does not alter the other characteristics subject to evaluation.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 82

Question: Which section of the EN13432 norm contain the criteria for the acceptability of packaging and packaging materials that are organically recoverable?


Answer:
In Attachment A, where the evaluation criteria are presented.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 83

Question: Is there a correlation between the percentage of renewable contents and the biodegradability of a material?


Answer:
The concepts of renewability and biodegradability are different, and are not always related; renewability concerns the origin of the material, whereas the biodegradability concerns its performance after use and, in particular, the disposal and recovery options. There are materials that are 100% renewable in origin and 100% biodegradable, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates, and materials that are 100% renewable in origin but non-biodegradable, such as polyethylene obtained from bioethanol (ethanol of renewable origin). There are also materials that are 100% fossil in origin, but 100% biodegradable, such as polycaprolactone, and materials like Mater-Bi® which is, in part, renewable in origin, but 100% biodegradable and compostable (see FAQ No.38).

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: INGREDIENTS


FAQ Nr. 84

Question: What are "bioplastics"?


Answer:
The term "bioplastic" is ambiguous because it can be used to indicate either the origin of the raw materials, or the environmental performance and properties of the final product, or both. The term "bioplastic" can be used to indicate materials that are very different in origin and that have very different properties, as you can see - for example - from the following table: ____________________________________________________________________________________________| |_Origin________|____Environmental Performance__|____________________Examples_________________________| |___________________________________________________________________________________________| |_Renewable_____|___Biodegradable__________|_____Polyhydroxyalkanoates______________________________| |_Non_renewable_|___Biodegradable__________|_____Polycaprolactone_________________________________| |_Renewable_____|___Non_biodegradable______|_____Polyethylene from cane sugar____________________| |_Non_renewable_|___Non_biodegradable______|_____PEEK ™ (polyetheretherketone) for biomedical applications_| |_______________|________________________|___________________________________________________|

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: OTHER


FAQ Nr. 85

Question: What recovery options are there for products in Mater-Bi®?


Answer:
All possible recovery options may be applied to products made of Mater-Bi®. Energy recovery, recycling and organic recovery may be used interchangeably, depending on the active regional systems for waste collection, and on the waste treatment method locally available.

Date: 28/05/2008

Sector: COMPOSTING


FAQ Nr. 86

Question: Does Mater-Bi® need the action of UV rays, light or air to start its biodegradation?


Answer:
No, Mater-Bi® does not require the action of UV rays, light or air to start its biodegradation. Biodegradation is the main process leading to the final decomposition of Mater-Bi ®.

Date: 24/11/2008

Sector: BIODEGRADATION-DISINTEGRATION


FAQ Nr. 87

Question: Conformity to a standard’s requisites or to the test methods?


Answer:
Some norms fix general requisites for a product, a process or a service and others define technical methods to measure a particular property. The first ones list the requisites/characteristics that a product, process or service must have and the qualified methods to measure those requisites, setting the “conformity thresholds”, that is minimum and maximum values or ranges for each requisite/property. The second ones explain, otherwise, specific measurement methodologies (materials and procedures) for a requisite or property, without fixing evaluation thresholds of the results obtained for a given product, process or service that underwent a measure. As a consequence, it is not sufficient to say that a product is consistent with a certain norm in order to fully understand the meaning of such a conformity, but it is necessary to know if the content of the norm is a set of requisites or simply a test method. For instance, with regard to compostability, to state that a product is consistent with the norm EN 13432 means that the product fulfils all the threshold values foreseen by that norm (which concern biodegradation, disintegration, ecotoxicity and composition). On the contrary, to state that a product complies with the norm ISO 14855, simply means that it was tested only with regard to ‘biodegradation’ , with a given method described in that norm, which however does not foresee any assessment on the results. Therefore, if a supplier of biodegradable products provides a statement of compliance to a “test method” such as ISO 14855, and somehow conveys the idea that the product is also “compostable” , we recommend to ask for the obtained results in order to check if they are consistent with the threshold values provided by the norm EN 13432. Moreover we would advise asking whether he has checked the other requisites fixed by the EN13432 norm. Eventually, without the complete set of testing, concerning the above mentioned four characteristics, a material cannot be claimed “compostable” within the terms of EN 13432.

Date: 29/04/2009

Sector: CERTIFICATIONS




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