Wirtschaftsbetrieb Ludwigshafen (WBL), the public works department of Ludwigshafen city in Germany, has approved the use of organic waste bags made of BASF's compostable plastic Ecovio FS for disposal in the organic waste bins in the city.
The statement by WBL was made in coordination with the waste management company GML-Abfallwirtschaftsgesellschaft, as the operator of the city's organic composting plant.
Ecovio bags make collecting and disposing of organic waste cleaner, less complex, and prevent unpleasant odours and pest infestations. They can help reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in regular bins.
The bags have a high wet strength according to BASF, preventing the leakage of liquid from teabags or fruit leftovers and keeping the bags intact. However, they are not suitable for disposal on garden compost piles.
BASF conducted a comprehensive series of tests at the organic composting plant in Grünstadt, Germany, in late 2009. These demonstrated that the bags are suited for the short cycle times of professional composting installations.
BASF head of global business with biodegradable plastics in Ludwigshafen Jürgen Keck said: "Among the plastic bags tested in the experiment, only the organic bags made of Ecovio actually degraded completely and quickly."
Results from pilot projects undertaken in the Bad Dürkheim district in 2011 and Berlin in 2012 were also positive. Around 65,000 households and 25,000 households used the organic waste bags in each city respectively.
Approximately 90% of the residents interviewed in Bad Dürkheim were satisfied with the bags for the collection of organic waste. The figure was 80% in Berlin.
The Rhine-Pfalz and Ennepe-Ruhr districts already permit the use of Ecovio bags in Germany.
Ecovio FS material is made from the partially bio-based ecoflex FS along with polylactic acid. The bags are completely broken down by microorganisms with the aid of enzymes.
A seedling symbol appears on the bags, indicating that they meet the strict statutory requirements of European standard EN 13432. This defines the requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation.
Image: Compostable organic waste bags made of ecovio. Photo: courtesy of BASF - The Chemical Company, 2013.