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“Biodegradable plastic with additives a disaster” claim PFSA

It would seem that we are not the only ones concerned about the introduction of degradable plastics in South Africa. As this article reports, the Plastics Federation of South Africa (PFSA) has expressed concern over the fact that Albany Bakeries, as well as other retailers, are making use of plastic packaging which contains additives that accelerate degradation. PFSA’s main concern is with the impact that this will have on the recycling industry.

But what is more alarming, is the unmonitored use of the terms ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’, as well as the lack of recognition of certification in South Africa. Although there are international governing bodies to certify biodegradable and compostable products, to our knowledge, there is no certified testing facility that can certify biodegradable or compostable products in South Africa. Albany is currently gaining a lot of mileage out of using “biodegradable bags” however these are not certified biodegradable (and cannot be certified as they are not biodegradable) and there is no governing body to stop them from continuing so.

4 thoughts on ““Biodegradable plastic with additives a disaster” claim PFSA

  1. I’m thankful with your blog it is very useful to me.

  2. Albany Bakeries are using Oxo degradable which is NOT biodegradable as per EN 13432:2000/ISO 14855 standards and DO NOT COMPOST, especially in wet conditions in landfill. There is SERIOUS concern about the claims on these bags, such that they DO NOT biodegrade as claimed, contain heavy metals (like EPI additive based, currently being taken to court in Australia for false claims).

    Degradable bags, which are currently supplied as oxo degradable partly breakdown however not completely. The result of this action is the remains of the plastic shreds, which then become harmful to the environment. A biodegradable bag on the other hand completely disappears and is compostable, hence enhancing the nutritive value of the remaining soil.

    Bioplast Biodegradable Plastics;

    Due to the ever increasing usage of non degradable plastics in day to day life, and due to the environmental/pollution hazards faced due to its non degradable characteristics, this research was undertaken by Bioplast Inc. to make polyethylene totally biodegradable. Enhancing polyethylene products to undergo a change in its chemical structure under environmental conditions. The loss of properties of polyethylene while contacting with soils and water may vary as measured by standard list appropriate to plastic and the application in a period. Bioplast biodegradable technology enables polyethylene (HDPE and LLDPE) to biodegrade in atmospheric conditions in soil and compost thereby releasing CO2.

    The plastic treatment is used in this technology as a source for growth of bacteria culture. The inhibited Bacterial culture has been enumerated under laboratory tests. The total fungal and bacterial counts in biodegradable polyethylene bags have been observed as CFU/g*. A definite bacterial group found alive and active in these bags treated with Bioplast enzymes proves that the soil bacteria and the bacteria group present in the bag jointly eats away at the polyethylene film leading it to total biodegradation. Bacterial and fungal counts were enumerated and classified by Vimta Labs. The total fungal count is <10 CFU/g and total bacterial count is 25 CFU/g. * (Colonial Forming Unit per gram of polyethylene. As bacteria have been enumerated as CFU, further multiplication of bacteria cannot be ruled out..

    Enzymes used in this technology are regarded a catalysts, helping to change the chemical reaction of polyethylene accelerating the process of degradation. Autotrophic bacteria present in mineral salts mediums containing some form of nitrogen-energy supplying material are also used in this technology. Carbon is obtained from the added oxidation agents in this product. The PH values of this composition blended with polyethylene is 9.5 confirming its non-acidity characteristics. All the ingredients of Bioplast plastic products are food grade and non-toxic in nature.

    It is observed that soil contains at least 58% Carbon. The greater part of the Nitrogen content of the soil is closely linked to organic matter. As the organic soil matter gradually decomposes the nitrogen is converted into water or available forms of ammonia and nitrates. This moist soil reacts with the biodegradable polyethylene film making it susceptible to composting and the release of CO2. The enzymatic treatment is used at 1-1.5% dosage for Polyethylene (90% HDPE, 10% LLDPE) and mechanically coated. The use of this technology makes Polyethylene (HDPE LLDPE) 100% Biodegradable. The cost of this process is very cheap as compared to any other method prevalent in the world.

    Also See;

  3. Reply to BioPlast:

    I have been following your endless blog postings of your claims, why are you so desperate for sales? I think I know why!

    Your ‘so called’ Bioplast in NOT a Bioplastic, it is NOT certified as biodegradable OR compostable by any of the authorities(OK Compost, BPI, DIN CERTCO) that issue the specifications(EN 13432:2000/ISO 14855) you claim, in fact the ONLY people that have ‘tested’ your products are YOU!!

    If anyone is any doubt ask this company for their certificates for these compostable standards, they DO NOT HAVE THEM!

    Your BioPlast is HDPE or LDPE which is A FOSSIL FUEL based plastic, producing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses worldwide in manufacturing.

    Plastics are proven to attract high levels of poisonous chemicals, and your BioPlast will break down into small particles just like the oxo-degradables you attack, that after collecting poisonous chemicals, could be taken up by the food chain and poison the eco-system, right up to us.

    Your BioPlast is ADDING to greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere, these are the cause of climate change that is linked to increasing crop failures.

    The world needs to invest $45 trillion in energy in coming decades, build some 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expand wind power in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to an energy study released Friday, and yet you are still happy to pollute with your CO2 generating plastics????

    The answer is NOT Mr BioPLast and his enzymes !!

    The answer is plant based plastics 😉

    Plant based plastics ARE biodegradable and compostable(many compostable at home) and certified as such.

    Plant based plastics REDUCE greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as the plants grow. Growing more plants for plastic would REDUCE greenhouse gases and help reverse climate change AND crop failures.

    One study shows that “every pound of soy-based polymers produced instead of petroleum-based removes 2.1 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere”.

    Another study shows that in manufacture, plant based plastics use 30% less energy and create just 25% of the greenhouse gases that fossil fuel plastics do. Also starch based plastics consume 2190 kg of GHG per tonne of plastic whilst the plants are growing.

    For the plant based plastic just go to:


  4. Thanks for your post Anonymous Reply to BioPlast. I’m not sure who you are referring to in your statement, however I thought it best to clarify that Green Home’s biodegradable and compostable bags are made from Biophan films. The Biophan films are certified by DIN CERTCO, that means that the Treofan Group and its customers are entitled to mark the films with the compostability Logo: registry no. 7P0043. For more info go to

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