What is PBAT?
PBAT (short for polybutylene adipate terephthalate) is a biodegradable random copolymer, specifically a copolyester of adipic acid, 1,4-butanediol and terephthalic acid (from dimethyl terephthalate).
PBAT belongs to the “bioplastics” familly because of it’s “biodegradable” potential. PBAT is made with fossil-fuel and is thus a fossil-based plastic and not a bio-based plastic.
It is generally marketed as a fully biodegradable alternative to low-density polyethylene, having many similar properties including flexibility and resilience, allowing it to be used for many similar uses such as plastic bags and wraps.
PBAT will usually be mixed with other polymers (co-polymers) to be able to claim “compostability” and “biodegradability”.
PBAT is produced commercially by BASF under the trademark ecoflex and in a blend with poly(lactic acid) called ecovio, by Novamont as Origo-Bi and in a blend with starch called Mater-Bi, by Zhuhai Wango Chemical Co Ltd under the name Wango, by JinHui Zhaolong as Ecoworld and in a blend with starch called Ecowill, and by Eastman Chemical as Eastar Bio.
Furthermore, suppliers in China and other nations now produce PBAT. These companies include Zhejiang Biodegradable Advanced Material Co. Ltd, Dongguan Xinhai Environmental Protection Material Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Ruijiang Chemical Co., Ltd., and Jiangsu Torise Biomaterials Co., Ltd. in China as well as Green Chemical Co., Ltd. and WILLEAP in South Korea.
However, PBAT is the child of BASF.
BASF and the Third Reich
- Nuremberg Trials
BASF merged with 5 other German chemical companies including Bayer and Agfa in 1925 to form a new conglomerate called “IG Farben”.
BASF and the other ‘IG Farben’ entities were trialed at the Nuremberg Trials after WWII (The IG Farben Trial) for crimes against humanity and collaboration with the NAZI regime, the SS, Gestapo, etc.
BASF should have been dismantled after the Nuremberg Trials but it wasn’t. The reason being that the Cold War between the Allies and the Soviet Union almost immediately started after WWII.
- Cold War context
Europe, Germany and Berlin were split up into a Western and Eastern part after WWII. BASF belonged to the “West German” side supported by the Allies.
Dismantling BASF would have economically and industrially weakened West Germany and would have been unwise at that time. The Allies needed a strong West Germany to have a strong economic and industrial border with Stalin’s Soviet Union.
- Fertilisers, compost and forced cannibalism
Let us go back at the end of WWII.
In Juli 1944, a British reporter named Alexander Werth went to the Majdanek concentration camp in the Polish city of Lublin and he made a remarkable observation: the dead bodies of the Majdanek extermination camp were cremated, processed and used as fertilisers to grow cabbage on the surrounding Nazi farm lands and also used as additive for the compost heaps on camp farms to feed the prisoners in the concentration camps.
The leading English-speaking news outlets at that time, BBC and the New York Herald Tribune, were a bit skeptic of Werth’s observation and didn’t believe him at first; they took him a bit for an imbecile.
Let me re-phrase and summarise the whole story:
After WWI, young Adolf Hitler spends some time in Vienna where he lives like a proletariat. He observes Austrian politicians surfing on a popular political ideology where all evil is blamed on the “Jews”. He goes back to Germany and replicate what he has seen in Austria. In his endeavour, he’s recruited by the dismantled German army and supported by German industrialists who sees him as a potential “führer” (leader) to unite the German people against the threatening communist ideology that would “nationalise” German industrial assets. Hitler and his entourage develop the notion of “Untermensch” to describe the enemy of the State, namely the Jews, handicapped people, autists, gypsies, LGBT, etc. It’s important to realise that the German industrial complex plays a “determinant” role in Hitler’s accession to power. The German industrial complex helps Hitler (1) to become a popular political figure, introduce him to German high society, and (3) help him realise and materialise his political vision.
A company called BASF was the leading German agro-industrial company at the time of Hitler. They had revolutionised agriculture with their synthetic “fertilisers”. BASF is the company that creates what we call ´intensive agriculture’. To make a long story short, they master the business of “fertilisers”. Before that, farmers were using natural fertilisers such as manure, kitchen scraps, leaves, grass, etc to fertilise their lands. One day, Hitler and his little cabal come up with the “endlösung“(final solution) to deal with the “untermenschen“: concentrate them in forced labor camps (concentration camps), make them work until they almost die … (they should still be able to walk to the gas chambers) and then kill them by chemical suffocation and cremate the bodies (extermination camps). This is common knowledge. But what most people don’t know is why cremate the bodies and what happened to the ashes of the ‘untermenschen‘? And that’s where we find the brilliant idea of the masters of fertilisers … BASF and consort …. let’s use it as fertilisers. And to “up the ante” of abomination … let’s use the ashes of the cremated ‘untermenschen‘ as ‘compost’ in the farm camps where the food was grown to feed the ‘untermenschen‘. Let me re-phrase that one – the ‘untermenschen‘ detained in extermination camps were feed with food grown with fertilisers and compost produced with the ashes of their cremated siblings. Call it as you want, I call it “forced cannibalism“.
Another great contribution to mankind by BASF.
PBAT as Compost and fertiliser
BASF is pushing and lobbying for the world to use ‘compostable” plastics made with PBAT (fossil-fuel biodegradable co-polymer) that will compost at industrial composting sites, and the compost is then used on the farm lands to grow our crops.
BASF is pushing and lobbying for the world to use “soil biodegradable” agricultural plastic mulch films made with fossil-based PBAT that farmers are supposed to “plow under” after use and it’s suppose to magically disappear and turn into fertiliser.
Seriously? I love ze German sense of humour.
Does your gut feeling tells you that adding PBAT plastic to soil and compost is a good idea? Or do you think we’re just introducing plastic and chemical substances into the food chain?
It is scientifically proven that PBAT is bad for the soil and its ecosystem, it increases the PH grade of the soil, it makes the soil more acidic.
Whatever BASF lobbyists are telling you …. let me tell you the truth …PBAT is killing the soils.
Using PBAT at industrial scale is committing a genocide against the soil and its ecosystem.
So, let me re-phrase this one:
When BASF is recommending to use something as a fertiliser or compost …. just double check you’re not involved in some kind of genocide or… forced cannibalism.