Oxygreen Plastic Additives use the Oxo-biodegradation process to accelerate the degradation of conventional plastics.
Oxygreen additive initiates Oxo-biodegradation, a two-step process to degrade the polymer chain and make it available for biodegradability within the environment when a treated plastic product has finished its useful life.
- The Oxygreen additive in the plastic product is activated by natural sunlight after the product is discarded.
- This accelerates catalytic reaction to break the carbon-carbon (aliphatic) bonds at a molecular level and introduce oxygen into the polymer chain.
- The reaction reduces the molecular weight of the polymer by ‘chemically cutting’ the chain, and makes the molecular fragment more ‘hydrophilic’.
- As the molecular weight of the polymer is reduced the plastic begins to lose its properties, its strength is lost and its elongation properties reduce, in effect the material becomes brittle.
- As the reaction continues the plastic product simply falls apart having no integral strength.
- The molecular weight reduction introduces oxygen into these species, producing a complex mixture of carboxylic acids, ketones, and alcohols.
- These lower molecular weight entities are not polymeric (they do not have sufficient repeating units to be classed as a polymer) and the material does not have any of the plastic properties which we associate with the polymer. It has therefore irreversibly changed beyond recognition.
- The remnants are also hydrophilic which means they can be wetted out, unlike a normal polyolefin which is extremely hydrophobic. This is a critical parameter as it means that the carbon that was originally bound up in the polymer chain is now accessible and can be utilized by microbes, unlike when it was a polymeric chain and highly hydrophobic.
- Now, the polymer has been altered into a group of materials which are available for biodegradation. The materials undergo oxo-biodegradation if placed in an environment rich in bacteria. The oxo-biodegradation step rate is dependent on the environmental conditions in which it is exposed.
- This final step of converting the available carbon from the polymer into CO2 is called mineralization, the rate at which CO2 is generated can be measured and provided with a ‘rate’ for this stage of oxo-biodegradation.
Oxygreen additive converts plastic, at the end of its service life, into a material that can be re-absorbed by the earth without causing any harm, through an Oxo-biodegradation process. The plastic additive guarantees the original properties of conventional plastic but controls its service life so that it can serve its purpose and then degrade itself completely.
It has been proven that plastics containing the Oxygreen additive begin the oxo-biodegradation process 12 months after they’re thrown into the litter and after five years they are completely biodegraded. As opposed to conventional plastics, which take over 100 years to break down, Oxygreen oxo-biodegradation technology is very environmentally friendly and reduces plastic waste.