18. Dec 2019
Recent studies on the biodegradability of bio-based and biodegradable plastics performed by Finnish environment Institute (SYKE) show that Walki’s Bioska films are among the fastest on the market to biodegrade, both in soil and in marine conditions.
While biodegradable plastics have long been considered a vital solution in the fight against plastic trash in our oceans, there has been little research on how biodegradable packaging materials actually behave in marine conditions.
To remedy this, a year-long project known as ‘Ubinam’ was established by SYKE to investigate the degradation of new biodegradable plastic materials in the Baltic Sea marine environment, as well as to assess the associated environmental risk. A selection of biodegradable films and materials, including Walki’s new transparent packaging films called Bioska 501 and Bioska+, underwent both field and laboratory testing. Samples of the material were placed in the Baltic Sea on the southwest coast of Finland for a period of six, and respectively 12 months. The study found that the Bioska films had the fastest biodegradability: after just six months, noting remained of the materials.
A further laboratory test confirmed the results. The same materials were studied in a one-month long laboratory trial. The findings were in line with the sea tests: once again, the material showed a rapid pace of biodegradation.
“These results are very encouraging as the EU is challenging conventional plastic with several new directives, including plastic product bans, some coming into force already 2020,” said Jani Avellan, R&D Director, Innovations at Walki.
“We are well prepared to help our customers chose more sustainable alternatives. Our Bioska 501 and Bioska + films are based on natural polymers by plants and bacteria. The fact that the material is also very thin contributes to their fast biodegradability”, he concluded.
Image: The project studies microbial communities responsible for biomaterial degradation and absorption of harmful substances in the natural environment of the Baltic Sea. © Veijo Kinnunen