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Biodegradable Alternatives

short & long term degradable tie strips

Biodegradable Options

To help reduce the impact of plastics in the environment, rapstrap are focused on developing a range of cable tie alternatives using biodegradable & renewable resource materials. Combined with our waste-reducing i-Tie design, these tie strips aim to offer the greenest possible replacement for conventional single-use products.


Please note that although we only use materials that are considered intrinsically biodegradable, the speed of degradation can vary significantly depending on enviromental conditions. Standard biodegradation tests are conducted under laboratory conditions and do not automatically apply to finished products. End users are advised to evaluate samples of any biodegradable plastic products to confirm their suitability. We are happy to supply samples of our tie strips for this purpose.

Bioplastic i-Tie

6mm x 270mm
Polyester / Starch (30% renewable)
biodegradable
natural (beige/brown)
8kg max load
supplied in tear-off sheets of 5
Please contact us if you require further details

Biopolyester rapstrap i-Tie after home composting

Biodegradable Starch-Polyester Blend:
These new biodegradable rapstraps are made using a blend of renewable starch and biodegradable polyester. The material is a non-PLA based compound that contains approximately 30% renewable resource. It is moderately hydrophilic and this allows catalytic enzymes to be carried deep into the bulk polymer, leading to more rapid biodegradation than occurs with hydrophobic materials.


Although these straps are suitable for medium-term outdoor applications in "clean" conditions, they can exhibit fairly rapid biodegradation when exposed to a biologically active environment. In testing, these Bioplastic i-Ties showed signficant degradation after just a few months once covered with soil or other organic debris. A photo gallery of our results so far is available here.


Production of these tie strips began in early 2022, and scaling-up of production is now underway. A longer, more efficient version should be available by the end of the year.

Water Soluble i-Tie

6mm x 270mm
poly vinyl alcohol (PVOH) / E1203
cold water soluble (6-12 hours apx)
biodegradable
natural (pale yellow)
8kg max load
supplied in tear-off sheets of 5
(NB: This is a non-stock item and made on order)


Water soluble poly vinyl alcohol Rapstrap i-Tie

Water Soluble PVOH:
These water-soluble PVOH/PVA rapstraps are very similar to our standard polyurethane i-Tie, being flexible, semi-elasticated and fully removable & reusable. In dry conditions they work just as normal, but in damp environments they will readily absorb water and dissolve over the course of a few hours. Poly vinyl alcohol is used in the food industry as the thickener E1203, and once dissolved & dispersed it is generally regarded as biodegradable in the natural environment. Please note that these ties are not suitable for outdoor applications!

Biodegradable PCL Cable Ties

6mm x 150mm or 8mm x 300mm
polycaprolactone (PCL)
intrinsically biodegradable
natural (white)
8/15kg max load
non-releasable
(NB: This is a non-stock item and made on order)

Cable ties made from biodegradable PCL

Biodegradable PCL:

For higher strength applications, rapstrap developed a conventional cable tie made from polycaprolactone (PCL). This waxy material is similar to plant "cutin", a naturally occuring biopolyester that forms a barrier layer on leaves and fruit. Like cutin, PCL has been shown to gradually break down in both terrestrial and marine environments, and is therefore generally regarded as intrinsically biodegradable, albeit slowly (especially at low temperatures).


On the downside, PCL is an expensive material and is difficult to process. It is also not as strong as nylon, and our PCL cable ties are only suitable for loads up to 15kg. PCL also melts at 65C and these ties should therefore not be exposed to temperatures above 40C to prevent softening. Unless your circumstances require this particular product, we would recommend our new Bioplastic i-Tie as a less expensive alternative.


Please also note that because this is a specialist product, we currently only produce our PCL cable ties to order. Large volumes may therefore be subject to lead time delays.