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Bioplastics Industry Descriptions

March 1, 2009

The SPI Bioplastics Council supports the descriptions below and recognizes the importance of bioplastics testing and certification. 

Bioplastics : plastic that is biodegradable, has biobased content, or both.

Plastic (ASTM D883) : a material that contains as an essential ingredient one or more organic polymeric substances of large molecular weight, is solid in its finished state, and, at some stage in its manufacture or processing into finished articles, can be shaped by flow.
 
Polymer (ASTM D883) : a substance consisting of molecules characterized by the repetition (neglecting ends, branch junctions and other minor irregularities) of one or more types of monomeric units.

Biodegradable Plastic : a plastic that undergoes biodegradation (a process in which the degradation results from the action of naturally-occurring micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae) as per accepted industry standards. As of 2008, accepted industry standard specifications are: ASTM D6400, ASTM D6868, ASTM D7081 or EN 13432.

Biobased content : Fraction of the carbon content which is new carbon content made up of biological materials or agricultural resources versus fossil carbon content. Biobased content is measured following the procedures set by ASTM D6866.

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