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Biodegradability of Polyvinyl Alcohol Based Film Used for Liquid Detergent Capsules

Dominic Byrne, Geert Boeije, Ian Croft, Gerd Hüttmann, Gerard Luijkx, Frank Meier, Yash Parulekar, Gerard Stijntjes
Published: 1 March 2021

Abstract: Questions and potential misperceptions have arisen about the potential contribution of liquid detergent capsules to the environmental microplastics issue. The film of these detergents is highly water soluble, also in cold water, as it must fully dissolve during every type of washing process. Water-soluble grades of polyvinyl alcohol, the most commonly used detergent capsule film material, are recognised to be biodegradable. In the current paper, adequate biodegradability is confirmed by means of ready biodegradation screening tests, across a range of polyvinyl alcohol detergent grade films. The high water solubility in itself implies that detergent capsule films are not within the microplastic scope. Furthermore, their biodegradability ensures there is no concern for persistence or accumulation in the environment.
Keywords: Polyvinyl alcohol / Soluble film / Liquid detergent capsules / Biodegradation / OECD biodegradability screening test

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