Norland International Inc. has introduced the industry’s first oxo-biodegradable cap for 5-gal water bottles. The LDPE caps, sold under the Earth Cap trade name, contain a unique additive that accelerates the degradation process, resulting in total degradation in five to 10 years.
The injection molded Earth Cap – a replacement for traditional LDPE caps – also features a biodegradable non-adhesive tamper-evident label and 2-mm foam seal, making the entire cap structure totally biodegradable. The oxo-biodegradable caps have a two-year shelf life and offer the same performance as current versions and are also FDA compliant.
“This is a significant milestone in meeting the sustainability needs of water bottlers throughout the world,” said Sam Noordhoff, vice president of Norland International. “This is an environmentally friendly option that goes far beyond lightweighting and other recycling strategies, offering a truly effective means of reducing the environmental impact of these plastic products.”
The special additive is blended into the LDPE using a unique mixing and drying system. Once disposed of and exposed to UV light, heat, and moisture, the caps first embrittle and then break down into small pieces. Once the molecular weight is reduced sufficiently, the material becomes available for bio-digestion and the broken down matter becomes a food source for bacteria or microbial activity. Depending on environmental conditions, the plastic cap is expected to totally degrade in about 5 to 10 years.
The proprietary additive greatly enhances degradability of the caps while maintaining clarity and tensile strength. Caps that contain the special additive will degrade in landfills, ditches, rivers, and other water sources. In addition, they are fully recyclable and compatible with municipal collection and recycling systems. There is no contamination with the plastics recycling stream and industrial composting facilities are not required
Norland manufactures these 55-mm caps at virtually the same cost as standard caps. They have drawn worldwide interest and are commercially available in standard colors (earth green, blue, and natural) in the U.S. and Far East/Pacific.
Oxo-Biodegradable Caps from Norland