EconoGreen Plastics by Jig-A-Loo
Answers to some of your most common questions Bookmark and Share



1

What are EconoGreen Plastics™ bags made from?

EconoGreen Plastics™ are made from recycled coloured polyethylene and chalk, just like regular plastic. We also add tiny quantities of our additive that causes the bags to break down over time due to oxidation. In simple terms, that means the plastic structure of the bag is attacked by oxygen, which makes it disintegrate faster. The additive works as a catalyst to speed up the degradation - normally extremely slow for plastic. Chalk (calcium carbonate) is added to accelerate the production process, ultimately using less energy.

2

What does oxodegradable mean?

Oxodegradable means “to degrade over time when exposed to oxygen.” For example, EconoGreen Plastics™ bags and drop cloths contain a unique additive that helps break down the carbon-carbon bonds in the plastic, reducing the strength of the bag when it is exposed to oxygen over a period of time (2-4 years). As the bag continues to degrade into smaller pieces it becomes a nutrient for microbes that consume the fragments leaving behind water, CO2 and a biomass. The process doesn’t leave any harmful residue or toxins making EconoGreen Plastics™ a great choice for Mother Nature.

3

Do EconoGreen Plastics™ bags biodegrade or do they just fragment?

They completely biodegrade. The additive causes the plastic to degrade enough for microbes to safely ingest it fulfilling the biodegradation process and leaving behind CO2, water and biomass.

4

When do EconoGreen Plastics™ bags start to disintegrate?

The additive in EconoGreen Plastics™ bags has a delayed effect that is designed to begin working approximately 2 years after the bag is produced. This time frame means bags have ample time to be shipped to stores and used by customers – more than once if necessary – before the disintegration process begins. The complete disintegration of a plastic bag depends on the way it’s disposed, and how much UV light, oxygen and heat it gets exposed to.

5

Are EconoGreen Plastics™ products toxic to the air or ground during degradation?

Not at all. Our bags need oxygen to begin breaking down. The degradation process turns our plastic bags into water, CO2 and biomass.

6

You mentioned that the process releases CO2, which is a greenhouse gas. Isn't it harmful to the environment?

All natural products create CO2 when they break down. For example, a pile of leaves, an old stump or grass clippings all emit CO2 when they decompose. Our product leaves a greater amount of biomass behind than other biodegradable products. The alternative would be to imprison the carbon in plastic, but then the bag would last hundreds of years or even longer. This is an integral component of the photosynthesis process that plants undergo, and one of its sub-products is O2 (oxygen).

7

What happens if there is no oxygen?

Simply put, the bag won’t disintegrate. It’s worth noting, however, that even broccoli wouldn’t without oxygen. While this isn’t the ideal situation, it represents a significant advantage over existing biodegradable materials that, in the absence of oxygen, undergo an anaerobic decomposition that generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more harmful than CO2.

8

EconoGreen Plastics™ products are engineered to biodegrade, but will they break down in a landfill?

No. Most landfills are built so the trash is isolated from the environment (groundwater, air, rain, etc.). Therefore, nothing degrades because there’s little oxygen and moisture. Not even an apple.

9

Can I use EconoGreen Plastics™ bags in my compost pile?

No. Our bags aren’t made for your compost pile. They don’t degrade fast enough. They are designed to take an existing waste stream.

10

Do I need to use EconoGreen Plastics™ bags as soon as I get home?

No. We guarantee our bags have a shelf life of 2 years starting from the manufacturer’s date stamped on the bottom of your box. After that, degradation will begin if the bags are exposed to enough oxygen.

11

Why are EconoGreen Plastics™ products so good for the environment?

a) They are made of a 100% recycled plastic so they help prevent landfill buildup.

b) Their production cycle requires less energy than regular plastic, compostable and paper bags.

c) Unlike standard plastic bags that can stay in the environment for 400 to 1,000 years, EconoGreen Plastics™ products are oxodegradable. Standard plastic bags can be harmful to animals that commonly mistake them for food. This problem is avoided with our products because they degrade completely over time, leaving behind only CO2, water, and biomass, all of which are safe for the environment.

d) They can be recycled, if needed, with existing recycling facilities.

e) They’re made in North America, reducing the greenhouse effect caused by transportation (compared to other standard plastic bags that are made in Asia).

12

I have heard that the additive in oxodegradable bags is actually a heavy metal. Won't this heavy metal pollute the environment?

The active components of the additive are metallic salts that are not considered to be heavy metals. The metals that are used are essential elements of minerals used by all living organisms (including our bodies).

13

Is there an ASTM standard that EconoGreen Plastics™ should comply with?

Presently, there is no ASTM standard that applies to oxodegradable bags. ASTM D-6400 applies to compostable bags only. ASTM D-6954-04 is a guideline and test method used by the Federal Trade Commission and in U.S. Code of Federal Regulations to test the oxidative and thermal biodegradation of plastic. It doesn’t have pass/fail criteria, meaning that even if you perform the test, it doesn’t mean the product meets certain standards of oxodegradability. Degradation, biodegradation, and compostability all vary to some degree in their life cycles and therefore require different mechanisms to reach their desired ends.

14

How do I know if a product is really eco-friendly?

You don’t have to look far to find a lot of unsubstantiated claims being made about how “green” a product is. However, you can protect yourself by checking to see if the product has been certified from an independent and recognized eco-friendly organization such as the EcoLogo Program.

15

Is it true that a brown paper bag uses about 20 times more energy and resources to produce than an EconoGreen Plastics™ plastic bag?

Yes. The amount of energy needed to produce 1,000 paper bags is 2,622 MegaJouls (MJ). By contrast, the amount of energy needed to produce the equivalent carrying capacity in EconoGreen Plastics™ bags is about 140 MJ. That’s even less than regular plastic bags because EconoGreen Plastics™ bags are made from 100% recycled plastic.

16

What is the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch?

Known as “Earth’s largest dump” or “trash island”, the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch is a swirling mass of plastic bags, bottles and other debris floating in one of the world’s major ocean vortices. Found between Hawaii and California and stretching across hundreds of miles, this humungous garbage patch presents numerous hazards to marine life because not all of the plastics degrade. Scientists have noted that some of the plastic is leaching potentially toxic chemicals into the water, while other plastics are photodegrading into smaller pieces and being ingested by aquatic organisms living near the ocean’s surface. Ultimately, and unfortunately, it all works its way back into the food chain.

17

How does a landfill work and why won’t organic trash degrade in it?

Most landfills are lined with a layer of clay and a liner of protective plastic to prevent harmful waste from leaking into the ground or ground water. Once a layer of waste has been dumped, it is covered with soil effectively cutting off any exposure to air, sunlight and/or water. Under these conditions, trash won’t really decompose because there is little oxygen and moisture.