ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Mater-Bi of 3rd generation are innovative bio-based plastic materials based on starch and biodegradable polyesters derived from vegetable oils. Products made with these plastics can be normally recovered by means of organic recycling after their service life. Furthermore, it has been shown that these materials display also a relevant biodegradation level when characterized with innovative laboratory test methods. Samples of plastic materials are exposed to marine sediments withdrawn from the littoral area (eulittoral and sub-littoral) and biodegradation is followed by monitoring the mineralization i.e. the conversion of the plastics’ carbon into carbon dioxide. High levels of biodegradation were reached in relatively short times (less than 1 year) suggesting these materials can be suitable for making plastic items that are prone to dispersion into the sea (e.g. fishing gears, single use carrier bags). The environmental risk caused by an item released in the sea is lessened by a fast biodegradation that reduces the residence time of the “stressor” in the environment.