Online eco tool

A NEW BASF online tool-called Ecovio Eco-Efficiency Compass (E∏C), will make the decision about which of the company’s biodegradable plastics to choose from the viewpoint of its ‘ecological footprint’ much easier in the future, says the company.

The software compiles all of the relevant data for the production and disposal of selected products – the findings of many exhaustive Eco-Efficiency Analyses – in a single user-friendly interface. Various parameters that are crucial for the ecological evaluation of a given product can be quickly checked, revealing their impact on the product’s eco-efficiency right away. The uncomplicated comparison of the ecological footprint of various approaches allows the user to quickly ascertain whether, in the final analysis, a biodegradable plastic is actually more environmentally friendly.

It has been more than ten years since biodegradable plastics have entered the awareness of consumers and the industry, and they continue to enjoy a growing interest on the part of the market and the public at large. A number of BASF products have contributed to this development, too. Ecovio F Film is commonly found in compostable shopping bags. At the end of 2009, BASF’s Ecovio product line was expanded by two new variations, namely, Ecovio FS Paper, which is suitable for the production of coated paper cups and cardboard boxes, and Ecovio FS Shrink Film, which was developed explicitly with an eye towards the manufacture of shrink films.

Biodegradable plastics, however, do not automatically solve environmental problems simply because they can be composted. Their use only makes sense if they are more sustainable than non-biodegradable materials at a performance level that is the same or even better. The biodegradability is supposed to create added value, for instance, by allowing organic waste to be composted rather than incinerated. After all, organic waste consists primarily of water, which makes thermal utilization very inefficient. In contrast, if the film can be composted along with its contents, this can have a positive effect on the environment.

A web-based interface with an input mask is provided so that users can combine numerous parameters with each other that are of relevance for the ecological profile of their envisaged product such as, for instance, a shopping bag. These parameters include not only the selection of the packaging material – if necessary all the way down to the monomer level – but also the weight of the bag and the type of disposal technology. Thus, the entire life cycle of the product is depicted, from the selection of the raw material all the way to disposal.


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