Waste Management With The Earth2Earth Bin Liners
When getting rid of the trash, you want a product that will be effective and convenient to use. This is a routine part of the building’s maintenance program, and with waste there are high risks of contamination if improperly handled. The Earth2Earth bin liners come in to make tossing out the trash a breeze.
When purchasing the bin liners for your home or business premises, you want to be sure that you’re getting a quality product. That’s what you can expect from the Earth2Earth range from Thorn Environmental Ltd. Here is a quick look at the company:
Thorn has been in the packaging business for decades. Towards the turn of the 21st century, Europe began to awaken to the need for environmentally sustainable products and practices. Action plans like Agenda 21 of the United Nations Europe’s Environmental Action Program were brought forth. They began being implemented across the scope- by NGOs, local and regional authorities, to those involved in business and industry, in order to protect the fragile environment, conserve biological diversity , and even control pollution and the manage biotechnology. This began a wide raft of measures that impacted day-to-day life. In this line, Thorn set up the company behind the Earth2Earth bin liners- Thorn Environmental Ltd in 1998. The packaging systems were improved and value added to the products through investments in technology and innovation, resulting in an environmentally-friendly range of waste packaging material. The company now specialises in producing refuse sacks, bin liners, and also owns renowned brands like “Bungee” and “DuraSack”.
The reliability of the units provided by Thorn Environmental Ltd has seen it become a favourite for home and business owners looking to effectively get rid of the waste generated in the establishments in a safe and sustainable manner. As such, it has become a market leader in Ireland and across the UK.
Earth2Earth Compostable Liners For Organic Waste
Value Of The Composting Process
How do you get rid of the organic waste from your home or business premises? Does it make a difference what liner you use? Plastic bags and compostable liners result in different outcomes. Disposing of that food waste, the kitchen scraps and other kinds of organic matter through plastic bags creates one big problem- as the degradation occurs, it will result in a mixture of the organic and plastic waste, which can’t be processed in the composting facilities. As such, using plastic bags for organic waste means that they will be sent straight to the landfill. With one-third of the food that is produced worldwide being wasted, a huge percentage of this matter ending up in landfills takes away the chance of actually nourishing and rehabilitating the soils that badly need it. The food in itself is biodegradable and can be used as compost, but it requires the proper conditions of oxygen, heat and humidity. The conditions are properly controlled in the compositing plants. However, in the landfills, it’s left to the elements.
The core problem here is the insufficiency of oxygen, which prevents microorganisms from effectively carrying out the task. Buried under a mountain of trash, the amount of available oxygen gets depleted very fast. The biodegradation will still occur, but it will be anaerobic. This creates another problem:
The methane factor
As the organic matter is decomposed by microorganisms in an environment without oxygen, one of the by-products released is methane. This is a gas with a greater greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide- in fact it has an estimated 25 times greater impact. What does this mean for you? Basically, tossing organic waste into the plastic bags contributes to global warming to a greater extent. This is certainly not what you intended when you were simply getting rid of the waste.
Landfills are one of the biggest sources of methane emissions, giving enteric fermentation plus natural gas and petroleum systems a run for their money. In fact, landfills produce more methane emissions than coal mining itself. You don’t want to contribute to the problem. Compositing comes in as an efficient means of disposing of organic waste, and the Earth2Earth compostable bin liners enable you to achieve this.
Why You Should Turn To The Earth2Earth Compostable Bin Liners
- Large carrying capacity
The Earth2Earth compostable liners are constructed with high-strength material, allowing them to be used for residential and commercial waste management needs. They come in different thicknesses, and you can get liners from 8 – 120 µm, depending on your particular requirements. The thinner liners are typically used for light duty applications like holding household and office waste, which the thicker Earth2Earth compostable liners can be used for heavy-duty applications such as carrying debris collected from the yard. With a shelf life of 2 years, you can make bulk purchases of the units, that way you have enough around whenever you need to toss out the trash, and save on costs in the long run.
- Ensure that organic waste goes to composting facilities
By using the Earth2Earth compostable liners, you get to avoid resource wastage, in that the organic waste does not go to landfills or incineration plants, but is rather directed to the composting facilities. That way, the food waste, kitchen scraps and yard trimmings will get turned into valuable and useful soil, enabling you to play your role in improving the ecosystem. If you’re involved in gardening activities and have your own DIY compost systems set up, then these bin liners will fit right into it. There are no chemical additives used in the Earth2Earth compostable liners to speed up the degradation, and their construction doesn’t have any polyethylene. They are developed to adhere to the requirements of the composting process to the letter.
- Colour variety
Flexo printing enables you to have a wide assortment of Earth2Earth compostable liner colours that you can choose from. This is particularly handy when sorting trash, enabling you to ensure that you have an effective waste management system in place, and no one will mix up the content that is in the different liners.
- Improving soil quality
Instead of letting valuable organic matter to rot away in landfills and produce methane, it can be diverted to composting facilities, returning the much needed nutrients to the soil to improve on its health and structure. This nutrient-rich soil, in turn, reduces the reliance on fertilisers and pesticides, with the positive impact being experienced across the entire agricultural production chain- from the farmer to the final consumer of the produce. It even enhances the water retention capacity of the soil, improving the growth of native plants.
- EN 13432 compliant
You want to be sure that bin liners that you’re using pose no threat to Mother Nature, that way you can effectively dispose of the waste from the establishment without putting the surrounding ecosystem at risk, or having a larger carbon footprint. The Earth2Earth compostable liners meet the EN 13432 criteria, obtaining the certification to prove it.
This is the overriding EU standard that dictates the test parameters for industrial and home compostable products. It requires that the compostable plastics should have disintegrated after 12 weeks, and should also be completely biodegradable after 6 months. Basically, within that period, over 90% of the product should have converted into carbon dioxide. The remaining matter will be a combination of biomass and water, which makes it valuable as compost. It looks at different factors including:
How much of the product physically breaks down? A sample of the product is taken and added to a fraction of organic waste, then left in testing conditions for a period of 12 weeks. To pass this test, at least 90% of the same should be able to pass through a 2 mm sieve at the end of the period.
This one looks at how the product is affected by microbial action- specifically how much of it gets converted into water, carbon dioxide and biomass. Different standards are used for the testing, from the ISO 14855 that looks at biodegradation under controlled conditions of aerobic composting; ISO 14851 that tests the aerobic degradability of the material in water specifically with oxygen demand; plus the ISO 14852 which also looks at the aerobic degradability in water, but this time around with evolved carbon dioxide. The test is carried out over weeks- reaching a 6-month maximum, based on how susceptible the product in question is to the different composting conditions. At the end of this period, the carbon dioxide that is released by the test same should be at least 90% as much as that which is produced by the control sample.
This test looks at if there are any negative ramifications of the composted material. Samples, one with the test product and another controlled, are taken through analysis of pH, volatile solids, and salinity, all through to elements like magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and ammonium nitrogen. This is to check where their amounts are within the permissible ranges defined within the OCED 208 “Terrestrial Plants, Growth Test”. At the end of the analysis, the grown plants and their biomass for both the test sample and control sample have their amounts compared. This is, in turn, contrasts with the blank compost. In order to pass this test, the percentage should be above 90% that of the blank sample.
- Chemical analysis
Even the concentration of heavy metals is observed, in order to assess the potential negative effects on the quality of the compost. The chemicals elements should be under the threshold stated within the parameters of the EN 13432 standard.
The Earth2Earth compostable liners are also biobased, meeting the ASTM D 6866 standards. This is an analytical method that is used to determine the biobased content of samples- from solids, liquids, to gasses, using radiocarbon dating. The ASTM D 6866 is widely used, and it distinguishes the carbon that results from the contemporary biomass-based inputs, comparing them with those obtained from fossil-based inputs.
Here’s a bit more chemistry on the subject: Biomass contains amounts of Cabron-14 that are well-characterised and which can be easily distinguished from other materials like fossil fuels which do not contain Carbon-14 (C14). In nature, there are three isotopes of Carbon: C12, C13 and the radioactive C14. C14 gets formed in the upper levels of the atmosphere as a result of cosmic radiation, where nitrogen acquires an extra neutron, and breaks down into C14 and a proton. The C14 gets oxidised into carbon dioxide, which is taken up by the plants during photosynthesis. The intake of C14 ends immediately an organism dies, and from that point it decays back into nitrogen and a beta particle. The ratio of C14 and C12/C13 in the organism is at a predictable rate. With a 5730-year half-life, the C14 is almost completely absent in fossil products dating back 20,000-30,000 years. With the known amount of C14 in the biomass, the carbon percentage from renewable sources is calculated from the total amount of organic carbon in the test sample.
To meet the minimum criteria for ASTM D 6866, the product being tested, the following need to be met:
- The specified minimum organic proportion should be 50 %.
- The proportion of biobased carbon to the total carbon should exceed 20 %.
- Reduce landfill sizes
A welcome benefit of composting organic waste is that it reduces the amount of land that is needed for landfills. Since the waste is broken down and used to revitalise soil, the demand for more space to hold the ever-increasing about of trash is reduced. That way landfills will be kept from taking over public spaces and choking up cities. This is in line with other sustainable efforts being made, such as recycling of plastics, glass, paper, metal and cartons, plus broken down appliances also being directed to landfill centres to avoid them just piling up in the landfills. It even aids in the reclamation efforts, as governments are putting in place measures to enable them to cut back on the amount of land space that has been allocated to landfills, and rehabilitate the space to make it suitable other uses.
- Reducing greenhouse effect
There is a common misconception that when food scraps are thrown away into the landfill, it’s all fine and dandy because they will biodegrade. However, the effect specifically in landfills is counterproductive. Why? Without sufficient oxygen, as a result of the growing mounds of trash that cover the organic matter below it, the materials are decomposed anaerobically. In this process, methane gas is produced, which is dozens of times more potent to the environment than carbon. It is this effect that has resulted in landfills becoming the third-largest emitters of methane on the planet. Some landfills try to cut this down by utilising the methane as an energy source. However, the ideal situation is to prevent methane from being formed in the first place. How is this achieved? By preventing the organic matter from winding up in the landfills, but rather being directed to the composting plants.
When it comes to waste management through compost, it is heavily regulated. The compost needs to be free of contamination from plastics, hence the emphasis on segregation. Food matter, kitchen scraps and other organic material can’t be tossed into a plastic bag and taken to the composting facility. As such, the packaging used is critical. Using the Earth 2Earth compostable bin liners ensures that they are direct to the composting facility. In the end, the waste winds up being used to add nutrients to the soil. This is beneficial in replacing the chemical fertilisers and pesticides, further reducing the greenhouse effect that is associated with their production. Moreover, the compost replenishes the exhausted farm soils, reduces erosion, and even helps in preventing stem water runoff.
- Attract more customers
As a business owner, no doubt you know the value of a positive brand image. It dictates the trust the consumers have in the products and services that you are offering. A lot of investment goes into promoting your brand. One key aspect of today’s changing world is the fact that consumers are being more selective of the companies they engage. It’s not just about making a purchase. They are looking into the company’s practices, its policies, how it fairs in matters such as its corporate social responsibility, and environmental sustainability. A study reported on Forbes showed that 87% of consumers develop a more positive image for brands that are keen on social and environmental issues. 68% of millennials went ahead and purchased products that are directly shown to benefit the environment or society. According to a Neilsen report, the brands that succeed in connecting sustainability to consumer behaviour get increased expectation and demand for their products. A company’s claim to sustainability needs to reflect in its operations both inside and out. Basically, consumers want both the products purchased and the systems with which the company is run to be eco-friendly. In fact, they are willing to pay more for this. How do the Earth2Eareth compostable bin liners play into all this? They blend into the eco-conscious systems in in your establishment. This adds to the impetus of your efforts to showcase yourself as a company that invests in protecting Mother Nature, thus attracting more customers and boosting your revenue.
The Global Menace
Plastics are a problem around the world. Each year, there is enough amount of plastic that is thrown away to circle the planet a whopping four times. What’s worse is that it is so resilient in its impact that even burying the plastic deep within the soil does not mean that it won’t have an effect. In landfills, plastic can take up to a millennium to degrade, while burning it releases toxic fumes into the air space. It has come as no surprise that plastics are a political hot potato, and more pressure is being put on corporates around the world to invest more in environmentally suitable solutions. Their light nature makes them one of the most common debris to be blown by wind from landfills, settling on trees, roads, getting into storm drains, and reaching as far as the ocean. In fact, up to 80% of the plastic that is in the oceans comes from land. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which has 7 million tonnes of weight, is considered to be the largest plastic dump on the planet, with 80% of it being plastic. The Mediterranean Sea Garbage Patch alone is estimated to contain about 250 billion plastic pieces, with some weighing as little as 1.8 milligrams.
When in the water bodies, all the plastic exposes the marine life to harm. There have been at least 267 different species which have been directly affected by the plastic pollution that is in the seas. As the bits of plastic break down, they end up being ingested by the marine animals which mistake them for food. For instance, 30% of leatherback sea turtles have been found having plastic in their stomachs. They mistake the floating plastic bags to be jellyfish, which is their main diet. Autopsies conducted on the turtles reveal plastic bags all through the animals’ GI tracts. An internet search on animal’s eating plastic bag will yield hundreds of heart-wrenching stories and images from all over the world. From cows in India and Texas dying from eating the plastic bag litter, camels, sheep and goats on the last cusps of their lives, whales that have washed up on the coasts with their bellies full of the plastic- it’s a threat to the ecosystem as a whole. Even the birds that forage out at sea have been found with pieces of plastic in their systems. The plastics are also notorious for causing flooding. With the bags clogging gutters and sewer grates, they affect the drainage systems, which results in the flooding.
In a bid to speed up the degradation of plastic, innovative solutions have been incorporated during the development of the packaging material. Through biodegradation, the particles are broken down by microorganisms and converted into biomass. This goes a long way in reducing the landfill space required for disposal of waste. Products like the Earth2Earth Oxo-Degradable film feature here.
Oxo-Degradable Film: The Safer Plastic
In a nutshell, this is plastic that gets broken down in totality, resulting in carbon dioxide, water and biomass. How does that happen? Let’s get into the chemistry of it:
The lightweight, flexible, and durable nature of plastic are as a result of the bonds in its structure. They have a high molecular weight- this is just a fancy way of saying that numerous atoms are packed into a single molecule. For instance, you can have a polyethylene film clocking a molecular weight of 300,000. This is magnitudes of times greater than carbon dioxide’s molecular weight of 44, or water’s 18. The atoms themselves are held together by strong covalent bonds. Degradation occurs when these bonds begin breaking down. It can be caused by natural elements like sunlight, or mechanical stresses such as when one stretches or tears the material.
Oxo-degradable plastic is made by including a prodegradant additive into the plastic as it is being extruded. For the Earth2Earth bin liners, this is the Totally Degradable Plastic Additive (TDPA). For perspective, it has been shown that TDPA can rapidly degrade a polymer from a molecular weight of 250,000 to 4000. When the bin liners are disposed of, they will have already began to degrade, due to the exposure to UV rays, head and the mechanical stresses. The breaking down continues until the particles are small enough to get digested by microorganisms. At this point, the degradation is further accelerated, into all that’s left behind is the water, carbon dioxide and biomass. During the entirety of this process, at no point are there acidic or alkaline agents that are produced that can contaminate the environment.
How long does the process take? This is mainly dependent on the factors that influence the degradation: UV radiation from the sun, heat, and the microorganisms. This is particularly beneficial in running an eco-friendly wastage management system. Why? When in storage, it can last years. However, when it is litter, the degradation can take place within 12 months. This reduces the rate at which landfills are building up. What’s more, as the oxo-degradable plastics break down, no methane is released, making it a better option compared to traditional forms of biodegradable plastic. In addition, some oxo-degradable products, such as is the case with the Earth2Earth bin liners, can also break down upon exposure to composting temperatures. This will be through thermal degradation.
Benefits Of The Earth2Earth Degradable Bin Liners
- For starters, you get optimal functionality. The strength of the different grades of liners enables them to have a high performance in their specific categories, from the light-duty liners to the heavy duty alternatives. The high-performance resins in their structure meet the EU and UK industry standards.
- The water, biomass and carbon dioxide that are produced after the degradation process do not harm the environment. With these by-products, the landfill capacity is actually reduced- by as much as 30%, which has a net positive effect on wastage management systems.
- Since methane is not released when the material degrades, the Earth2Earth bin liners have a reduced carbon footprint, blending in well with the sustainable processes and systems that you are instituting in your establishment.
- The long shelf-life of the Earth2Earth degradable liners allows them to last for years when properly stored, within which time they still retain their usability. Simply keep them within the building in a place where there is minimal exposure to sunlight and heat. Think of the liners like paper bags. You can store a paper bag in your house and it won’t degrade, but when it becomes litter, the degradation happens at a faster rate. This means that you can buy the Earth2Earth bin liners in bulk to suit your establishment’s wastage disposal needs.
- The design of the Earth2Earth bin liners also enables you to spread more awareness about environmentally sustainable processes. This includes the beige colour, plus the logo itself, that emphasise to the public the need for employing eco-friendly systems in their day-to-day lives.
How To Properly Maintain The Bin
Cleaning the garbage bin is part and parcel of the waste management process. You don’t want to wait until it begins to smell, or put it off until something gross has spilled into the bin. Here are measures to take to ensure that the health standards are maintained and waste is effectively disposed of:
- Firstly, always use a bin liner. This cannot be overemphasised enough. Throwing the organic and inorganic waste into the bin without a liner creates a mess, and increases the health risks for the persons in the establishment. Smears of gunk sticking to the walls of the bin will make it difficult to clean, odours will spread much faster and make the space uncomfortable, and the rate of pathogens breeding will also increase exponentially. Units like the Earth2Earth bin liners are available for the different types of bins in the house, be it in the kitchen , the trash can in the bathroom, or even in the home office. It holds the waste, and when full- or when the garbage collectors arrive, it’s just lifted up and out of the bin.
- Avoid the temptation to smash trash down into the bin, in order to increase the space available to hold in more waste. Overfilling the Earth2Earth bin liners increases the strain on the material, and you don’t want it to tear. What’s more, when you overfill the bin it will take longer to empty, since you will be struggling with the liner as you try to lift it out, and may still end up being forced to bring in another unit to hold in the overflow. When the liner is full, remove it and place in a fresh new one into the bin.
- Clean the bin regularly. The best time for this is whenever you have emptied it. Give it a thorough rinse, and you can even add a disinfectant to the solution. Let it bin dry before adding a new Earth2Earth bin liner in it.