Mater-Bi mulch films - allies of a truly sustainable agriculture

Mulch films that are truly biodegradable in soil, are tools which support the objectives of sustainable development (OOS / SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals) outlined by the United Nations in Agenda 2030.

The United Nations SDGs are global sustainable development priorities and aspirations for 2030. They seek to mobilize global efforts around a common set of goals and targets. The SDGs call for worldwide action from governments, business and civil society to end poverty and create a life of dignity and opportunity for all. The SDGs explicitly call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges. A study on Novamont's Mater-Bi biodegradable mulch film, shows that the use of these films in agriculture achieves 8 of the 17 United Nations sustainable development SDGs. 

In particular, thanks to their biodegradability in soil, the MATER-BI films protect the environment by achieving 3 of the objectives (OOS 2, OOS 14 and OOS 15) and to prevent the production of plastic waste technically and economically difficult to recycle, thus responding to 2 other OOS (OOS 2 and OOS 12). 

In addition, NOVAMONT increases the renewability of the raw materials contained in Mater-bi in response to sustainability requirements of organic agriculture while also meeting two other objectives of sustainable development.

The LCA analysis "from the cradle to the grave" comparing a mulch film with highly renewable biodegradable material certified by AIAB and one in traditional plastic, in the Italian system, shows a reduction in emissions up to 50% of greenhouse gases. Finally, the Mater-bi biodegradable films demonstrate technical and agronomic performances comparable to traditional plastic films. This achieves 3 other sustainable development goals. With regard to the economics, from a circular and systemic point of view, all costs take into consideration, not only by the purchase price of the materials, but all the costs connected to the film’s life cycle in the field and off : film removal, logistics and disposal costs. With this perspective, the total costs of the comparing the two (biodegradable mulching and non-biodegradable mulching) are very similar.

Furthermore, environmental costs must also be taken into account if the traditional films are not properly disposed. Another interesting point taken into consideration regarding environmental impacts, is the removal of traditional plastics, i.e. the loss of organic substance present in the soil when removed together with the traditional film: assuming 1.2% as a value medium Organic carbon present in a soil (about 2% of soil organic matter) and that the plastic films generally show a contamination upon removal equivalent to twice the initial weight of the film. It has been calculated that every year the European soils lose around 1800 tons of organic carbon (Source: Sare, 2018) with Plastic Mulch Film removal.

On the basis of these results, the Mater-Bi mulch films are a valuable ally to meet important sustainable development objectives for an agricultural world increasingly attentive to environmental problems. 

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