In this article, it shall be explored whether ecopoxy is biodegradable or not. Other aspects covered would be:
- What is ecopoxy?
- What is epoxy?
- What are the applications of ecopoxy?
- What is biodegradability?
- Why is the need for epoxies to be biodegradable?
- Is ecopoxy eco-friendly?
- Is ecopoxy harmful to human health?
Is ecopoxy biodegradable?
Yes, ecopoxy is biodegradable because it is made from naturally occurring substances (plant-based) including cashew nut oil, soybean, and flax.
Ecopoxy is also environmentally friendly and causes no health risks as well. This is because its production is kept sustainable with no use of petrochemicals.
The production of ecopoxy uses biobased fertilisers and additives, and energy-efficient equipment to reduce carbon footprint.
What is ecopoxy?
Ecopoxy is a type of epoxy resin which is claimed to be environmentally friendly and the least toxic among commercially available epoxy resins. Most of the commercially available epoxy resins are harmful to the environment because of the use of fossil fuels in their production.
The use of non-renewable sources like fossil fuels in the production of most of the commercially available epoxy resin implies that the environment is put at risk while also being exposed to air pollution and other similar infiltrations.
The harmful effects of pollution and the use of fossil fuels are well-known to the world at large because most of the environmental degradation existent today has its roots in the use and consumption of fossil fuels.
Among the various impacts of the use of fossil fuels to acquire products, there are changes in weather patterns, global warming, the rise of sea levels, melting of glaciers, and threat to many species of animals and plants. These effects stretch as far as science has explored.
Therefore, the use of eco-friendly products is now more than ever so that these harmful effects can be curbed in the best possible way.
Ecopoxy is one answer to all these environmental problems taking us a step closer to a sustainable and green future.
Unlike other epoxies, ecopoxy is made from natural and organic materials such as soybeans, cashew nut oil, and eggshells.
What is epoxy resin?
Epoxy resin is a type of resin that contains epoxide groups and is linked to qualities of adhesion, chemical resistance and mechanical properties making these resins versatile in their usage and applications.
Resins may be natural or synthetic organic compounds that usually consist of a non-crystalline or viscous liquid material.
Simply put, resins (in general) are obtained from plant sources such as trees for their use in medicine or varnishes.
However, resins are also manufactured products that exhibit similar properties and can be used as plastics.
Resins have many applications and various classes. Epoxy resin belongs to the group of thermosetting resin, otherwise known as thermoset which is a polymer.
This polymer forms covalent bonds in a crosslinked polymer network to achieve its properties of curing.
Curing is a process that is characterised by the hardening of any polymer material by the formation of cross-linking of polymer chains.
There are a number of key properties of epoxy resin that makes them a good fit for a variety of applications in various niches. These properties are:
- Excellent adhesion
- Great strength
- Insulation (electrical)
- Chemical resistance
- Mechanical sturdiness
- Low toxicity
What are the applications of ecopoxy? (5 applications of ecopoxy)
Ecopoxy, while being environmentally-friendly, sustainable, and least toxic among other available epoxies, has tons of applications that stretch to almost all industries and all aspects of life.
The versatile applications of ecopoxy make it a must-to-have product while making sure that your environment is being subjected to the least amount of risk and threat.
Among the various applications of ecopoxy, some are:
- Energy applications
- Building, construction, and renovation
- Automotive Industry
- Aerospace industry
As it can be guessed, due to the properties exhibited by ecopoxies, they are used for versatile purposes that pivot around many aspects of science and technology.
Ecopoxies are used in energy applications where they are linked to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and form an integral part of many renewable energy resource endeavours such as solar or wind energy.
Ecopoxies are also employed to increase the overall life of buildings and lessen the need for renovation. Since ecopoxies are better off than many adhesives (owing to being heat and chemical resistant); they are one of the most widely used adhesives for building purposes.
The automotive industry makes use of epoxy-based coating technology wherein epoxies provide better adhesion to metals and less corrosion.
The role of epoxy resin in the packaging industry dates back to the mid-20th century. Since ecopoxies can adhere to metals, these resins protect the food from metals as metals could corrode and cause microbes to infiltrate the food.
Ecopoxies are used to make sports equipment like hockey sticks, tennis rackets, and golf equipment.
Ecopoxies are also extensively used in the aerospace industry to make reinforced and lightweight materials to cater to the meticulous needs of the aerospace industry.
What is biodegradability?
Biodegradability is the process through which complex substances are broken down into simpler substances by the action of microbes so that they may become a part of nature again.
It is the earth’s natural way to deal with waste because otherwise, the accumulation of waste will lead to numerous problems for man and the environment.
Concerning biodegradability, the general rule of thumb is that natural substances are biodegradable whereas man-made substances are not biodegradable.
This is because the structure of natural substances makes them compatible with the degradation capacity and ability of the microbes whereas man-made substances like plastics do not gel well with the degradative capacity of the microbes.
Biodegradability is a matter of increased importance because if waste is not biodegradable it may persist in the environment for a very long time and hence would cause immense harm to the environment and life in general.
To understand this, consider the example of plastics. Plastics are not biodegradable and may persist in the environment for as long as a thousand years. While they do, they cause species endangerment, pollution, health complications, and habitat destruction– pushing all of us one step closer to catastrophe.
What is the need for epoxies to be biodegradable?
The current world population stands at 8 billion and is expected to rise exponentially. It is estimated that the world’s population by 2100 will reach beyond 11 billion.
Increased population means higher demand for products and goods. Higher demand for products means more waste production. Hence, increasing population simply means more waste production and subsequently a better waste management system.
The current waste production (global) stands at an alarming 2 billion tons and more than 40 percent of this waste is left in open dumps that cause serious and direct health impacts on health and the environment.
If the produced waste is not degraded readily then it would mean that the earth’s capacity to carry life will be put to a bold challenge. Therefore, it is essential to discern between biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste so that actions can be tailored around it.
The need for epoxy resins to be biodegradable is the very same. It is estimated that the current epoxy resin production stands at a whopping 5 million tons. Imagine if 5 million tons of epoxy resin do not degrade every year.
What do you think the impacts will be? The earth’s capacity to sustain life will be degraded and we as humans will steer farther away from sustainability.
Even after that, the current production of epoxies is said to be increasing at a rate of around 6%.
Is ecopoxy biodegradable?
After a detailed introduction to epoxies, ecopoxies, biodegradation and the importance of biodegradation, let us move on to the most important question: is ecopoxy biodegradable?
Yes, ecopoxy is biodegradable because it is made from naturally occurring substances like soybean, cashew nut oil and egg shells. These materials are derived from nature and hence can become a part of nature again by the action of microbes.
Is ecopoxy environmentally safe?
Although ecopoxy has been found to be biodegradable, the question still remains is whether ecopoxies are eco-friendly as well?
If a substance is biodegradable it does not mean that it is eco-friendly because many factors are at play here.
The factors such as how a product is made, how it is used and how it is disposed of are important in determining whether a substance is eco-friendly or not regardless of being biodegradable.
For example, bioplastics are indeed biodegradable. However, if unsustainable amounts of bioplastics are consumed then it implies that more stress is caused on land and the use of agrochemicals to obtain the source of those bioplastics (cornstarch and sugar-cane in most cases).
In the case of ecopoxy, it is found that ecopoxy is indeed eco-friendly as well. The producers and manufacturers of ecopoxy claim that the production process is also optimised in compliance with the environmental parameters.
The use of agrochemicals, like pesticides and fertilisers, is avoided to obtain the source of ecopoxies. Further, the production process of ecopoxies is also kept sustainable by adhering to the use of renewable resources and pivoting farthest away from petrochemicals.
It is claimed that bio-based fertilisers and additives are used in the production of ecopoxies The equipment used in the ecopoxy creation process is also energy efficient reducing the overall carbon footprint in the best possible way.
Is ecopoxy harmful to human health?
The use of conventionally used epoxies that are based on petrochemicals is known to cause a plethora of harmful effects on humans because of their very composition.
These include irritation, allergies, and dermatitis. Some researchers have also established a link between epoxy resins and other serious medical complications too.
It is claimed that some epoxy resins contain a chemical known as DDS (Diaminodiphenyl sulfone) which is a carcinogen and also is responsible for genetic mutations as well.
Epoxy resin can also be poisonous if they are consumed or if its fumes are breathed in. This implies that epoxies do not really gel well with human biology and extreme care must be taken while using epoxy resin.
However, the producers of ecopoxies claim that since the production of ecopoxies is not associated with petrochemicals, ecopoxies cause no harm to human health.
The health risks posed by conventional epoxies become non-existent in the case of ecopoxies. Ecopoxy is non-toxic and emits no harmful fumes which can be of concern to human health.
It is concluded that ecopoxy is biodegradable because it is made from naturally occurring substances (plant-based) including cashew nut oil, soybean, and flax.
It is also concluded that ecopoxy is also environmentally friendly and causes no health risks as well. This is because its production is kept sustainable with no use of petrochemicals.
The production of ecopoxy uses biobased fertilisers and additives, and energy-efficient equipment to reduce carbon footprint. The price of ecopoxy is similar to other epoxies and hence there is no tradeoff here between environment and economics.
Frequently Asked Questions: Is ecopoxy biodegradable?
Is ecopoxy recyclable?
Since ecopoxy is made from natural materials it can be recycled to form many other products
How long does it take for ecopoxy to degrade?
Ecopoxy can degrade in 5-7 days as per some research because it is made from natural materials which can be degraded readily by microbes.
- Bertomeu, D., García‐Sanoguera, D., Fenollar, O., Boronat, T., & Balart, R. (2012). Use of eco‐friendly epoxy resins from renewable resources as potential substitutes of petrochemical epoxy resins for ambient cured composites with flax reinforcements. Polymer Composites, 33(5), 683-692.
- Chow, G. K. (2020, July). Steps to Safer and More Sustainable Industrial Design Studios. In International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics (pp. 277-283). Springer, Cham.
- Ecopoxy. (May 17, 2017). Ecopoxy is eco-friendly epoxy. [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRjEUN5Zs9s