Bioplastic cement bags prove worthy of composting
Trials have shown that biodegradable cement bags used on construction sites could be of real value to composting operators.
The BioSac cement bags were first developed two years ago as a waste management solution for the construction sector - they utilise a multi-layer sacking technology that combines a compostable bioplastic film with paper.
As used cement bags have always contained a small amount of cement, between 100-400g, there was a need to check if the BioSac bags could be safely composted in line with industry quality standards.
Dr Walter Lopez from Limagrain Cereales Ingrédients carried out the tests in conjunction with EcoVert Boilon at its composting site in France which conforms to French standards NFU-44051 and NFU-44095.
Initial experiments showed that the trial windrow containing 5% of used cement bags presented similar results to the control windrow. Only 100kg of paper from the bags were found in the screenings of the initial 2.5 tonnes of used cement bags added.
There was also no trace of cement or bioplastic film and the mass balance was identical for the two windrows, meaning the compost quantity was equal.
"The new cement bag keeps the same resistance and conservation qualities, while bringing positive environmental benefits," said Dr Lopez.
As a result, he said, the bag achieves the OK Compost certification and meets EN 13432 standards.
"To underline the scale of the problem, in France alone, around 50 million cement bags are used each year. Our trial shows that bioplastics can help to manage waste in this mass market."