EPI and the Environment
EPI develops, manufactures, distributes and sells: (a) chemical additives to manufacturers of finished plastic products in the packaging, agricultural and composting industries and (b) degradable landfill cover and wrap systems to customers in the solid waste management industry. The principal chemical additives sold by EPI are proprietary oxo-biodegradable plastic additives (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives® or “TDPA®”). The EPI group of companies has been working since the early 1990’s in developing an affordable additive technology to help manage some of the environmental issues that derive from the excellent long term stability of single use plastic products. EPI’s Totally Degradable Plastic Additives (TDPA®) technology accelerates the rate at which the most common plastics degrade by several orders of magnitude. TDPA® incorporated plastics disintegrate and ultimately biodegrade under the normal conditions of disposal for the products.
Environmental issues are increasingly coming to the forefront of public debate and government policy in countries around the world. Concerns range from global warming and human health effects of pollution to litter and the reuse of once used resources. The profile and importance of these considerations is only likely to increase as the global population grows, the standard of living in less developed countries increases and the collective footprint of these activities on our environment becomes larger.
This movement is creating a need for new strategies, behaviors and technologies. It is also creating opportunities for companies in the supply chain to fulfill these needs with innovative products and services and to gain competitive advantage in the process.
Some key statistics surrounding single use plastics are as follows:
- In 2005, the world consumed 235 billion kilograms of plastics for all uses.
- Plastics are ideal packaging materials due to their excellent properties, low weight, excellent processability and low cost and 40% of the plastics used in Europe and 25% in North America are used as packaging.
- All of this is ultimately discarded, most after a single use. In developed countries most of this ends up in landfills; in less developed ones unfortunately as litter.
- Most conventional plastics used for packaging can remain unchanged for decades after disposal.
- The extremely long life of conventional plastics limit their use in some applications such as landfill covers and agricultural films and necessitates the disposal of these items into landfills or other burial situations.
EPI’s innovative technology is not the ultimate or only solution to problems related to the persistence of packaging materials in the environment but it is a step in the right direction. EPI’s TDPA® technology is based on proprietary additives to conventional plastics. The resins so modified have physical and processing properties that are virtually identical to the unmodified resins.
Because of this and because it is a low cost add on to existing materials – EPI's TDPA® technology is affordable and easily adapted to existing processes and products and therefore readily accepted by end users.