ecovio® – Certified Compostable Polymer With Bio-based Content
ecovio® is a high-quality and versatile bioplastic from BASF. The primary advantages: It is certified compostable and biobased.
The main areas of use for ecovio® are plastic films such as organic waste bags, fruit and vegetable bags, carrier bags with dual-use (first for shopping, then for organic waste) or agricultural films. Furthermore, compostable packaging solutions such as paper-coating, shrink and cling films as well as injection molding and thermoformed products can be produced with ecovio®.
Thanks to its special chemical structure, ecovio® can be biodegraded by microorganisms and their enzymes. Under the conditions of an industrial composting plant – respective temperature, high moisture, defined oxygen content – biodegradation only takes a few weeks. ecovio® offers various product grades that meet the following, international and national standards and regulations for industrial composting, among others:
With ecovio®, BASF offers a certified compostable polymer which also contains variable biobased content. It consists of the compostable BASF polymer ecoflex®, polylactid acid (PLA) and other additives. In contrast to simple starch based bioplastics, ecovio® is more resistant to mechanical stress and moisture.
ecovio® products are just as high-performing and strong in use as conventional plastics. An ecovio® bag can take the same load as its polyethylene counterpart. The product properties were designed such that the products only fully biodegrade in compost after use.
ecovio® is a finished product that can be used by the customer as drop-in solution with standard plastic production procedures. Additional blending is therefore not required.
Compostable shopping bags offer the customer an additional advantage. They are not only strong enough to be used many times as a shopping bag: In their final phase, the bags can be used for collection of organic waste.
Whether shopping bag or organic waste bag ‒ kitchen and food waste can be collected hygienically in ecovio® bags, then turned, together with the bag, into compost. Undesirable odor and pest infestation are prevented. Thanks to its good wet strength, liquid from teabags or the remains of fruit do not leak through, so there is no more laborious scrubbing of the organic waste bin.
The compostable product grade ecovio® FS is a new development from BASF: The material mainly consists of renewable raw materials and can be composted even faster. In Germany, bags made from this material can be used for the collection of organic waste in accordance with the German Biowaste Ordinance at the end of 2011.
Films are not only employed for bags and packaging, they also have applications in agriculture and horticulture. Here, mulch films are used to increase the yield, speed up harvesting as well as to save water and herbicides. Conventional mulch films made of polyethylene (PE) have to be collected from the fields and recycled after harvesting. Because of earth and plant remnants sticking to the films recycling is more difficult or even impossible. Mulch films made of ecovio® M2351 are completely and biologically degraded by microorganisms like bacteria and fungi that exist naturally in the soil. Farmers can simply plow the ecovio® mulch films back into the ground along with the plant debris. This saves time and money.
Products made of ecovio® benefit from an optimal balance of stiffness and toughness. Depending on the application, the flow behavior is flexibly tunable: from a medium to a high flow capacity. The surface look ranges from beige to light gray, depending on the amount of mineral fillers. Especially for plastic components in packaging or for applications with high mechanical loads, these products are a good choice.
The Swiss Coffee Company’s special products please the palate. This young company promotes sustainability in coffee production, packaging, and waste disposal. BASF is involved, because its compostable plastic ecovio® is used in the Swiss company’s coffee capsules and packaging.
Whether filter coffee, espresso, cappuccino, or latte macchiato – coffee is Germany’s drink of choice. And the trend is toward brewing single cups quickly and conveniently, at the touch of a button. In addition, the coffee should be of high quality with a delicious taste and full aroma. So it’s not surprising that coffee from pads and capsules is booming.
According to the Deutscher Kaffeeverband (German Coffee Association), the market for coffee capsules in Germany alone grew by 16 percent from 2011 to 2012. That means two billion capsules or 10,000 tons of capsule waste. Most of these single-portion capsules, which consist in large part of aluminum, generally end up as residual waste. And that’s where BASF comes into play.
“We have developed a coffee capsule made of ecovio® for the Swiss Coffee Company. It’s biodegradable and can be composted together with the coffee grounds,” says Martin Bussmann, Global New Business Development for biodegradable polymers from BASF.
The capsules are made of the new, injection-molded grade ecovio® IS 1335. This plastic has to possess special production properties. On the one hand, it needs to be flowable so it can distribute well when injected into a hollow cavity. On the other hand, it has to cool down quickly in the mold so the finished capsule can be promptly removed. ecovio® meets these requirements.
In addition, the capsules have a special design, which enables them to withstand high pressure and heat that arise in the machine during the brewing process when hot water is forced into them through tiny holes.
The material for the aroma-proof capsule packaging is also based on ecovio®. “Conventional disposable capsules made of aluminum protect the coffee powder from oxygen and light,” says Bussmann. This keeps the coffee aroma inside the capsules. “For plastic capsules,” he explains, “the job is done by the aroma-proof packaging that the capsules come in.”
The outer layer of this packaging is made of paper, the middle layer is a thin barrier film, and the inner sealing layer is ecovio®. The three layers are bonded together with the compostable laminating adhesive Epotal® Eco from BASF. This packaging protects each individual capsule from light, oxygen, and moisture, therefore preserving the aroma. The entire packaging is also biodegradable and compostable.
The Swiss Coffee Company has been offering coffee in Germany and Switzerland under the trade name “beanarella” in these compostable ecovio® capsules since October 2013, as well as the associated coffee machines. The company only uses coffee that is organic and fair trade. The coffee capsules and machines are available from the beanarella online shop.
The certified compostable and mostly biobased polymer has multiple advantageous properties. In extrusion coating, ecovio® PS offers a low coating thickness at high coating rates and process stability.
The good adhesion of ecovio® PS to many types of paper and paperboard, its temperature stability up to 100°C and sealing capacity comparable to PE make it ideal for the production of paper- and paperboard-based packaging and disposable tableware, e.g., cups, paper plates, or wrapping paper.
In addition to the option of composting packaging which is contaminated with the remains of food after use, ecovio® PS also offers the option of paper recycling.
ecovio® EA expands the existing BASF foam portfolio with a new, certified compostable and biobased particle foam. It can be processed in common, modern EPS and EPP systems in the conventional pre-expansion and molding process steps. Thanks to its high flexibility in processing, ecovio® EA can be processed into any given molded parts of different densities.
Due to BASF’s innovative production method, ecovio® EA – like EPS, for example – is delivered in octabins as expandable granules and has comparable storage times. The result is a product that allows the production of foam molded parts with a high degree of design freedom which are certifiably biodegradable after use.
Fruit and vegetable bags made of ecovio® are more than simple carrier bags. They can be reused as organic waste bags and thus improve the collection and recovery of organic food waste. The ecovio® bags also comply with the recent standards in France and Italy for compostable fruit and vegetable bags made of renewable resources. In France, for example, single-use plastic bags that are thinner than 50 micrometer have to consist of at least 40 percent of renewable resources and be home-compostable. Thus bags made of ecovio® support a safer, cleaner and easier food waste collection, closing the loop of the food value chain.
ecovio® – Organic Shopping Bags
Compostable bio-waste bags
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|Consumer bags||ecovio® F2223||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® F2224||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® F2331||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® F2332||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® F2341||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® F23B1||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® FS22C3||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® FS2312||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® FS2341||Information & Certificates|
|Consumer bags||ecovio® FT2341||Information & Certificates|
Please find out more about BASF’s Biopolymers and ecoflex®, another certified biodegradable plastic.