February 15, 2021
A microplastic is a solid persistent particle that is intentionally added to a wide range of products to bring specific properties to a formulation or address formulation challenges. In the agricultural market, some microplastics technologies are used to encapsulate active ingredients, to provide dispersing properties or to generate a film for seed treatment or seed coating.
The concern raised by the European Food and Safety Authorities (EFSA), is that when microplastics are released into the environment, they do not biodegrade and lead to irreversible pollution of our ecosystem and food chain.
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) has worked for the past three years on a proposal to restrict the use of microplastics in Europe and consequently are challenging the industry to find alternative solutions.
ECHA defines a microplastic as a solid particle containing a minimum 1 wt% of persistent synthetic polymer with size range up to 5 mm. Some derogation criteria were included in the proposal such as natural polymers already present in the environment, biodegradable polymers and soluble polymers above 2g/L, which are considered unlikely contributors to microplastic concerns.
Stepan is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and supports specific targets of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as clean water and life on land. We are committed to helping to preserve clean water and life on land.
Stepan’s scientists in Europe are actively leveraging their formulation and synthesis expertise to provide the market with biodegradable, microplastic-free solutions. While we’re in the process of developing solutions for dispersants and film formers, customers can already leverage our range of biodegradable solutions to help them develop sustainable formulations, without compromising on performance. Our currently available biodegradable products include: