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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Seventh Framework Programme - Capacities EU Funding

Glossary of Terms

› What is the ASTM D6400?

American standard specification for compostable plastics.

 

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› Biodegradability, what does it means?

The breakdown of an organic chemical compound by micro-organisms in the presence of oxygen to carbon dioxide, water and mineral salts of any other elements present (mineralization) and new biomass or in the absence of oxygen to carbon dioxide, methane, mineral salts and new biomass (from EN13432).

 

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› What is a compostable material?

A managed process that involves the biological decomposition and transformation of biodegradable material to produce carbon dioxide, water, minerals and organic matter (compost or humus)

 

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› Degradation, what is it?

A change in the chemical structure of a plastic involving a deleterious change in properties.

 

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› Fragmentation, consists on what?

The physical breakdown of a material into very small fragments. (After ISO/DIS 17088).

 

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› What is the EN 13432?

European standard for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation.

 

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› Mulch film

Mulch film is loose film laid at ground level around crops to suppress weed growth, maintain humidity and protect roots from climatic extremes. The end result is a much improved crop yield with the following advantages: • Increased soil temperature and humidity; • More roots; • Labour saving; • Fewer chemicals required for plant protection; • Higher germination rates. Mulch films are laid on an enormous area of land world-wide, totalling about 4 million hectares.Mulch films are generally based on LDPE, LLDPE or a blend and vary in thickness from 10 to 80 microns depending on the crop and the required service life. They are mainly transparent or black, but can also be white, black/white or coloured (mainly to attract or repel certain insects). Transparent films transmit most of the solar radiation to the soil. As this solar energy is absorbed by the soil and converted into heat, the result is a much quicker heating up of the soil than for pigmented mulch films. These types of film do not prevent weed growth.

 

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› What are biodegradable plastics?

A degradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae (ASTM D 640099).

 

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› Oxidative Degradation?

The degradation of oxodegradable plastics is due to a chemical process known as oxidative degradation, when the plastic is exposed to heat or light. Oxidative degradation is a complex series of chemical reactions in which the long chains of polyethylene molecules are broken down into shorter lengths by the action of oxygen, ultra-violet light and/or heat.

 

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