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In line with the growing need for plastic that degrades more rapidly, Uniplast has commenced production of blown polyethylene film using Oxo-Biodegradable additives.
Napco Packaging Systems Co. Ltd., known as Uniplast, is testing Oxo-Biodegradable additives that can speed up plastic degradation under the right environmental conditions.
Located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the PE manufacturer produces manual stretch film, machine stretch film, protective pallet covers, PE trash bags, PE food storage bags, and disposable table covers.
Uniplast continually searches for ways to make its plastics products more sustainable.
A Shift to Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics
Uniplast’s initiative follows the 2009 decision by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) to launch a three-year plan enforcing all plastic manufacturers in the UAE to use Oxo-Biodegradable (OBD) additives. 
Trials were conducted using Symphony Environmental's d2w™ grade 93389, which is based on a polyethylene carrier and contains a catalytic additive, a small concentration of metal salts, which speeds up the natural degradation process. Instead of taking hundreds of years the plastic will break down into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass in a few years or less.
OBD additives used by Uniplast break down the molecular structure of plastic, at the end of its lifecycle, into material that is no longer plastic and can be bio-assimilated by organisms in the environment.
Uniplast’s Testing Process
Uniplast uses FDA approved additives, which can come into contact with food products without having any harmful side effects. The testing process involves placing two samples under the same environmental conditions, one sample containing the OBD additive and the other not (the control).Uniplast uses two methods to stimulate the environmental conditions: oven aging tests to speed up the aging process of the plastic, as well as UV weathering to expose the samples to years of UV radiation in a matter of days. These tests show what would happen to the plastic after years of deterioration.
Oxo-Biodegradable PE Film Test Results
Results from the carbonyl index data, which measures the level of oxidation, show a clear difference in the degradation behavior of the control sample versus that containing the OBD additive.
In fact, Uniplast’s PE film containing OBD generated approximately 10 times higher carbonyl index than the control, which validates that OBD PE plastic film degrades at a faster pace than the original PE plastic film.
Controlling the Degradation Process
By using small quantities of the OBD additive, Uniplast aims to control when degradation begins, depending on the product end-use. The challenge is to create an OBD PE film that degrades under certain environmental conditions without the degradation process beginning too early in the product life-cycle.
Rabih Ghanem, Uniplast Marketing Management, states,
“We acknowledge the environmental jeopardy the world faces today and its effects on our daily life, thus we strive to continuously dedicate all our capacity and aptitude to preserving a healthier all-green environment.
It is for us to decide the fate of the many generations to come…”
For More Information
Rabih Ghanem, Uniplast Marketing Manager
Industrial Area 4, Street #407
Jeddah 21438 Saudi Arabia
Tel: +966 -2-608-1118