BASF's biodegradable plastic Ecovio® is used to produce the shopping bags provided by large German discount supermarket chain ALDI SÜD. The plastic Ecovio consists of Ecoflex® and of polylactic acid (PLA), which is obtained from corn, a renewable raw material. Chemically speaking, Ecoflex is a petrochemical-based polyester yet, due to its special molecular structure, it can be digested by microbes under precisely defined conditions. It is completely biodegradable according to European standard EN 13432. Whereas Ecoflex makes the bag flexible, tear-resistant, waterproof and suitable for printing - giving it the properties of a classic plastic - the stiff PLA contributes the renewable raw material. These bags are manufactured for ALDI by the VICTOR Güthoff & Partner Group, headquartered in Kerpen, Germany.
"The two plastics Ecoflex and Ecovio have been developed primarily for products such as shopping bags and bags for organic waste, which are transformed into valuable compost - together with the bio-waste - in an industrial composting facility", explains Andreas Künkel, in charge of the development of biodegradable plastics at BASF. Biodegradable shopping bags are strong enough to be used multiple times as a shopping bag, but at the end of their days, they can also serve as a bag for collecting and disposing of organic kitchen garbage - in most of the German communities this is already permitted.