Frequently Asked Questions

ABP Agricultural Mulch Film is made from Mater-Bi™. What is this?

Mater-Bi™ is an innovative family of bioplastics, created by Novamont in Italy, that uses components obtained from plants, such as cellulose, glycerin, natural fillers and non-GMO starch obtained from various crops. Mater-Bi™ comes in granular form, and is then processed to create products whose properties and characteristics of use are very similar to those of traditional plastics, but at the same time, they are biodegradable and compostable according to Australian and international standards (AS4736-2006, UNI EN 13432).

Are starch and ingredients obtained from GMOs used to produce Mater-Bi™?

Mater-Bi™ is made sourcing and using only non GMO natural raw materials (such as starch). To reach this objective, traceability of natural raw materials is routinely applied as a quality control procedure in cooperation with suppliers.

Whenever, the GMO origin cannot be excluded because additives are sourced in markets and geographical areas where GMO organisms are already grown, Novamont takes part to off-set programs in order to assure the growth of non-GMO crops proportionally to the additives.
How effective is ABP agricultural mulch film?

ABP agricultural mulch film has the same mechanical properties and usage characteristics to those of traditional plastic mulch film, as proven by a wealth of independently collected test data and years of successfull use in the field.  It will do the job of traditional plastics film but with many more added benefits to the user and the environment.

How may I recognize a biodegradable agricultural mulch film?

Biodegradable mulch film are certificated according to biodegradability and compostability certifications, based on international standard such as EN13432-2002, AS 4736-2006, ASTM  D6400 and D6868, ISO 17088 and ISO 18606. One of the most recognized logo in the world is the “Ok Biodegradable in soil”, released by the Belgian accredited and independent certification body AIB Vincotte.

To be sure that the biodegradable mulch film you’re using is truly biodegradable, look at the logo:

What are the advantages of using ABP Mulch Film over traditional plastic?
  • ABP Mulch Film is applied using the same farm machinery for plastic film, so nothing changes there, but beyond that come the real benefit
  • It allows efficient control of weeds, just like plastic
  • It does not have to be removed or disposed of at the end of the crop cycle. Thanks to its certified capacity to biodegrade when incorporated into the soil, it transforms into organic matter, water and carbon dioxide.
  • As the product breathes, unlike plastic film, which does not transpire, condensation is prevented, resulting in less crop damage

By choosing biodegradable mulch film, productivity is maintained, there are saving of time, labour and disposal costs, all with a low environmental impact.

What does biodegradable mean?
  • Property of an organic substance to be broken down into simpler substances by the activities of living organisms. 
  • When the biodegradation process is complete, it brings to a total conversion of the organic substance into inorganic molecules such as carbon dioxide and water. 
  • The definition of biodegradable should include the environment and the time frame in which the biodegradation process need to be completed. Without such specifications, the term biodegradable becomes useless as virtually any organic matter is biodegradable if time is not limited.
What is the Australasian Bioplastics Association?
  • The Australasian Bioplastics Association (ABA) represents Members working in the sector of biodegradable and compostable materials, ABA works in promotion and advocacy for Member’s products, throughout Australia and New Zealand.

  • The Association administers a voluntary scheme for verification of products for members and non-members for compliance to the Australian Standards.

  • Joe Gagliardi, as a represenative of Australian Bio-Plastics, is proud to be an associate member of ABA.

What is the difference in meaning between renewable origin and fossil origin?

renewable resource is put back by means of natural processes, at a rate that compares with that of its utilisation. Most polymers and industrial plastics are currently produced starting with fossil resources, which are non-renewable, as they cannot be put back at a rate that compares with their utilisation (long cycle carbon).

Which is the difference between biodegradation and fragmentation?

Biodegradation in the soil is a natural process due to the action of micro-organisms.

Residual breakdown products of biodegradable films after the cultivation period should not be toxic or persist in the environment, and should be completelytransformed into organic substances, water and carbon dioxide by means of soil micro-organisms in a reasonable time frame. These safe features are certificated by biodegradability and compostability certifications, based on international standard such as EN13432-2002, AS 4736-2006, ASTM  D6400 and D6868, ISO 17088 and ISO 18606. One of the most recognized logo in the world is the “Ok Biodegradable in soil”, released by the Belgian accredited and independent certification body AIB Vincotte.

On the market there are several different mulching films claimed as “biodegradable”, however most of them are oxo-degradable products, composed by traditional plastics material and additives, able to trigger the fragmentation of the films, but not its biodegradation.

Fragmentation of oxo-fragmentable plastics is not the result of a biodegradation process but rather the result of a chemical reaction.

The resulting fragments will remain in the environment.

The fragmentation is not a solution to the waste problem, but rather the conversion of visible contaminants (the plastic waste) into invisible contaminants (the fragments).

If oxo-fragmentable plastics are littered and end up in the landscape they are supposed to start to disintegrate due to the effect of the additives that trigger breakdown. Consequently, plastic fragments would be spread around the surrounding area. As ultimate biodegradability has not been demonstrated for these fragments, there is substantial risk of accumulation of persistent substances in the environment.

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