In response to the UAE’s commitment towards promoting an eco-friendly global environment, EnerPlastics Oxo-Biodegradable (OBD) additives offer an environmental friendly alternative to both plastic manufacturers and consumers. This sustainable solution will modify commodity plastics and ensure increased environmental responsibility. EnerPlastics OBD additives convert long-life polyolefin plastic bags to degrade after a pre-programed life span of complete mechanical integrity, is therefore an optimum approach to the environmental pollution and its consequences.

The mechanism of polyethylene biodegradation known as Oxo-Biodegradation involved in two stages, these are:

  • abiotic (photo or thermo) oxidation
  • microbial biodegradation

Initial abiotic oxidation is an important stage as it determines the rate of entire process. In this stage polyethylene is oxidized leading to reduction of its molecular weight significantly. Also hydroxyl (-OH), carbonyl (C=O) and carboxylic (-COOH) groups are introduced into polyethylene chain leading to further oxidation of polyethylene.

The main factors that influence abiotic oxidation are heat and sunlight. They are crucial for both reduction of molecular weight and the production of low molecular weight compounds that can be assimilated easily by the microorganisms.



EnerPlastics OBD additive masterbatch are introduced to plastics films at manufacturing stage; the additives are dosed at very low level which ensures that the commercial product (film) would have a guaranteed mechanical strength and other properties for a minimum period (usually 12months) after manufacturing.

The organometallic constituents’ acts as a catalyst in oxidizing the polymer molecule to a state where it is converted as food to soil microbes, fungi, bacteria etc.

The metal part of the organometallic component are non-toxic to soil or food contact.


Standard and Tests

Testing is a critical aspect of supporting an oxo-biodegradable product. EnerPlastics has a state of the art testing laboratory which is capable of performing oxo-biodegradable testing and determines the suitability of a formulation for given applications. Availability of number of weathering chambers, FTIR, XRF and tensile machines  add to its capability in giving accurate test results.

The approach on testing material on degradability


Plastics: Assessment of oxobiodegradablity of polyolefinic materials in form of films- methodology and requirements.
In order to predict long term fate of polymeric material dispersed in environment, it is necessary to establish accelerated laboratory conditions. Studies of polyolefinic time course mechanisms have demonstrated that phenomena governing evolution in a natural environment are photothermal oxidations (under combined effect of light and heat) and thermooxidations. The progress of these oxidations is determined through accumulation of carboxylic acid groups that can be detected using FTIR spectrophotometer. The increase in absorbance at 1714cm-1 which determines the relative acid group contents can be expressed based on thickness of films.


  • Thermoxoidation (to guarantee minimum one year life time in storage and use in indoor conditions)
  • Photooxidation (to guarantee the fragmentation of films that are scattered in the environment after approximately 3-5 months  of exposure to sunlight)
  • Thermooxidation of previously photo-oxidized films (that guarantees that films abiotically degraded after 3 months exposure to sunlight and acquired biodegradability in soil within 2-3 years)


ASTM 6954 Standard Guide for Exposing and Testing Plastics that Degrade in the Environment by a Combination of Oxidation and Biodegradation.

This describes the methodology of testing. In this standard oxobiodegradablity is described in three tiers:
Tier 1: Abiotic degradation to simulate environmental exposure to light and heat. The molecular weight is determined and it should be less than 5000dalton and there should be less than 5% gel.
Tier 2: Biometric measurement of fragments
Tier 3: Eco-toxicity testing


Standard and specification of oxo-biodegradation of plastic bags and other disposable plastic objects
Abiotic degradation test shall be performed and degradation shall be evaluated by measuring by loss in mechanical properties, decrease in molecular weight and determination of gel content.

After abiotic degradation average molecular weight should be less than 5000 dalton, gel fraction less than 5% and elongation at break less than or equal to 5% of original value.

BS STANDARD 8472:2011

Methods for the assessment of the oxo-biodegradation of plastics and of the phyto-toxicity of the residues in controlled laboratory conditions
The standard describes methods for determining
a) Degradation by oxidation (abiotic tests)
b) Biodegradation (biotic test in soil) and
c) Phyto-toxicity (plant growth tests) of plastics materials and products


EnerPlastics OBD can be used for all applications in which conventional polyolefin’s are suitable. Along with other color and additive masterbatch available from EnerPlastics makes this an excellent one stop shop.


Shelf life: The shelf life and service life of degradable plastic using EP OBD can be customized based on customer requirements ranging from a few months to years depending on the type and amount of OBD that has been added to the plastic resin.

Processiblity: Processed in existing facilities with existing equipment and near identical processing parameters to conventional plastics.

Credentials: EnerPlastics OBD additives meet the requirements of all OBD standards existing in the market and have certificate from accredited organizations.

Free from Heavy Metals: All EnerPlastics OBD additives are free from heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, arsenic.

Food Approved: Degradable additives made by EnerPlastics are non-toxic and safe for food contact applications.

Degradable and Biodegradable: Scientific studies show that EnerPlastics OBD additives are degradable and biodegradable.

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