d2w Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Technology

Over time all plastic will fragment and completely biodegrade, but it could take many decades.  Symphony Environmental’s d2w Oxo-biodegradable plastic technology (also referred to as “controlled-life plastic” or “smart plastic”) helps to control and expedite the process of degradation.  So, rather than remaining relatively unchanged for decades after its useful life, d2w converts plastic into a material with a completely different molecular structure – and at a substantially faster rate than the natural process of biodegradation traditional plastics experience.

With d2w Oxo-biodegradable plastic technology, once plastic has exceeded its useful life, it begins to break down and at that point it is no longer a plastic.  At that point the fragments can begin to be bio-assimilated in the open environment faster than straw and twigs – and much faster than ordinary or recycled plastic.

Look Around a Supermarket…What Do You See? Plastic.

Not just the bags you use to tote your purchases home, but everything.  From frozen waffles to fresh produce, sliced bread to lunchmeat, orange juice to cleaning products…even televisions and shoe racks – almost every product you buy is wrapped in, bottled in or made of plastic.

If you were to take a look at the loading docks and warehouse space of your favorite retailers what you’d find is acres and acres of shrink-wrap, pallet-wrap and bubble-wrap needed to make sure the goods make it to the shelves undamaged.  Controlled-life plastic can help to lessen the negative impact that plastics have on our environment.

Why So Much Plastic?

Because plastic is, in most cases, the best and most cost-effective way to protect goods from damage, contamination and waste.  Plastics have revolutionized modern life.  From keeping foods fresh longer & protecting them from contamination to improving the safety of the cars we drive, plastics have in many ways changed our lives for the better.  The usefulness of plastic can’t be underestimated.  But neither can the impact of these plastics on the environment.  Oxo-biodegradable plastic can help to balance convenience with environmental responsibility.

Recycling helps, but no matter how hard we try we will never be able to collect and recycle all the world’s plastic.  From water bottles to pallet wrap, some of that plastic will inevitably find its way to a landfill or into the open environment in the form of litter.  There is no single solution to this global problem, but Oxo-biodegradable plastic can certainly play an important role in lessening the environmental impact of plastic waste, as controlled-life plastic has far less negative impact on the environment than traditional plastic.

Why Should We Be So Concerned About Plastic?  Why Is Oxo-biodegradable Plastic Better?

Is it because plastic is made from oil, natural gas, or coal which are finite resources?  This is a commonly-held misconception.  The truth is that plastic is actually made from a by-product of the refining process.  This by-product will continue to be produced for as long as the world continues to consume these types of fossil fuels.   So it makes good economic and environmental sense to use the by-product instead of simply disposing of it and using scarce land and water resources to grow crops to make plastic.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (sometimes referred to as the Pacific Trash Vortex or Garbage Island).  Located within the North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California, some claim the Great Pacific Garbage Patch may impact an area twice the size of Texas.

While the patch itself is made up of a variety of marine debris, one thing is certain:  a great deal of the debris is plastic.

As the patch continues to grow, so does the long-term risk to both wildlife and humans.  While Oxo-biodegradable plastic cannot eliminate that risk, it certainly helps to mitigate it.

There is no magic bullet solution for completely eliminating the negative impact that plastics can have on the global environment.  But we believe d2w controlled-life plastic is a step in the right direction.  Since plastic is obviously here to stay, it is important to use and dispose of it more responsibly – and converting to the use of Oxo-biodegradable plastic is an integral part of any global strategy to reduce the negative impact of plastic waste.

Doesn’t Plastic Waste Fill Up Landfills?

Another common misconception.  Plastic takes up a very small proportion of the total space occupied by the average landfill. Non-degrading plastic protective properties are delaying the decomposition of compostable waste.

Isn’t Plastic Symptomatic of our “Throw-Away” Society?

Well, yes and no.  Over time the way we purchase and consume good has changed.  Milk is no longer delivered to your door in glass jugs fresh from the local dairy.  While this is only one example of the change that has come from modernization, it is a perfect example of why processes and packaging continue to adapt to modern life.  Like it or not, life simply moves at a much faster pace today than it did 200 or even 50 years ago.  While recycling plastic is something we all support and must do whenever practical, the reality is that we will never be able to collect and recycle it all.

Our goal is to help fill the gaps that recycling efforts alone cannot by making sure that the plastic that does inevitably wind up in the open environment does not lie or float around in the environment for decades to come.  And Symphony is currently helping to fill those environmental gaps in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Symphony has developed a formulation called “d2w”, which is added to traditional plastic during its manufacture stage.  Our d2w product alters the molecular structure of plastics, making it degrade at the end of its service life.  Through a process called “Oxo-biodegradation”, plastics break down much more quickly and responsibly, leaving no harmful residues behind that can pollute the environment.  We call it “controlled-life” or “intelligent” plastic.

Plastic made with d2w costs very little extra, because it is made with the same machinery as normal plastic. It causes no loss of jobs in the plastics industry. There is no need to change suppliers, but if you’re looking for a new supplier Symphony can also supply finished-products.

Oxo-biodegradable Plastic vs. Vegetable-Based or “Compostable” Plastic

We’ve thoroughly examined vegetable-based or “compostable” plastic and, after careful consideration, have decided not to supply it. It is far too expensive for everyday use, it has a worse Life-Cycle Assessment than ordinary plastic, and it emits methane deep in landfill. We agree with the packaging manager of Tesco who said on 20th October 2009 that they “do not see the value in packaging that can only be industrially composted” and that “local authorities do not want to touch it, as it can contaminate existing recycling schemes.”

By contrast, d2w plastic can be safely recycled (see OPA Recycling Page).  When d2w is incorporated into the plastic product during manufacture it will control and thereby shorten the degradation & biodegradation process.  With our advanced technology, there is no need to stop using plastics – add just 1% of “d2w inside” normal plastic products.  And because products made with d2w Controlled-life Plastic Technology are re-usable many times during their useful life, we are able to take advantage of the usefulness and convenience of plastic without leaving an indelible negative impact on the environment.

Products made with d2w are being used by some of the world’s largest companies in more than 90 countries in a multitude of different applications.