biodegradable cable ties

Biodegradable polycaprolactone cable ties

Our ties are specially designed to use polycaprolactone, a fatty-acid polymer that resembles naturally occurring plant cutin. Mimicking this organic polyester means our ties can be consumed by the same microorganisms that normally degrade vegetation.

Unlike many common bioplastics, PCL is biodegradable in soil, compost, freshwater and marine environments. It has been extensively studied for nearly a century and is known to degrade in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions.

Fully made in the UK, our ties are moulded solely from this material without any other additives. Whereas most biodegradable plastics are proprietary compounds of multiple ingredients, we exclusively use pure PCL to ensure that biodegradation can occur without the release of any unknown constituents.

Our biodegradable ties are particularly useful in situations where they may become unrecoverable or lost into the environment. Common uses include off-shore work, tree planting, fencing, outdoor signage, event management, construction and site maintenance.

decomposes even at low temperatures

At the end of their useful life, our cable ties are designed to gradually biodegrade, even at low temperatures. The process requires the ongoing presence of moisture, microbes and nutrients, so anywhere that organic matter is already decomposing is normally a good location.

The ties will last indefinitely in dry conditions and are substantially resistant to temperate weathering. They are generally stable against UV-radiation and can serve as a direct replacement for conventional nylon ties in many outdoor scenarios.

Given a favourable disposal environment, our ties can be degraded in as little as 12-18 months, although complete bioassimilation (conversion to CO2 and water) may take longer. Biodegradation in aquatic conditions is also typically slower than it is on land, and our PCL cable ties may take several years to fully break down in the oceans.

Although our ties have been tested in a range of different disposal conditions, these results can only provide an indication of how quickly they may biodegrade in real-world settings. Wherever possible, end users are advised to perform their own testing to determine product suitability.

heavily degraded polycaprolactone cable ties

Our biodegradable ties after just 12 months' burial. By using only a pure polymer, biodegradation can continue until nothing is left.

eaten away by microbes

hydrolysis if polycaprolactone cable ties

In the presence of water, hydrolysis slowly converts our ties back into short fatty acids. These molecules become food for microoganisms in the environment.

Polycaprolactone is gradually destroyed via hydrolysis, which means it will not degrade in dry conditions. To break this material down, it needs to get damp.

Once wet, PCL slowly reacts with the water and eventually depolymerises back into its constituent fatty acids. By itself, the process is very slow, but nature has ways of speeding things up.

Because microorganisms like to feed on fatty molecules, various species of fungi and bacteria have evolved enzymes to accelerate the process. When such microbes encounter our cable ties, the ties are literally disassembled and eaten away, exactly as happens with naturally occurring polymers.

Because this biodegradation occurs on a molecular level, it is a relatively smooth process; And because we only use a pure material, this process can continue to completion. Unlike some other bioplastic compounds, polycaprolactone does not disintegrate and shed microplastics into the environment.

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