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About Biodegradable TPU

At the end of almost any product’s useful life, it has to be disposed of in some way. How this is carried out can have a significant impact on the environment.

Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can be decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually bacteria.

Biodegradable plastics can help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill they also have the potential to be better for the environment in the way they are manufactured.

Biodegradable TPU

Biodegradable TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) is a polyester fabric that has been laminated using a process low in toxicity. Both the TPU laminate and the polyester fabric the laminate is applied to are biodegradable, when composted they will biodegrade in 3-5 years.

During the lamination process, solvents are not used, and therefore biodegradable TPU is said to be exposed to fewer harmful chemicals which is better for the natural environment.

The Billy Eco15 swimming tow float made from bio-degradable TPU

The Billy Eco15 tow float made from bio-degradable TPU

Besides its manufacturing process TPU also has some significant claims of superior physical properties over the more common plastic PVC, such as:

  • greater flexibility and excellent strength
  • lightweight
  • abrasion resistant
  • resistance to oil and solvents
  • resistant to ageing and cracking (unlike the rest of us)

TPU is widely used

Due to such advantages TPU is already used widely in all kinds of industries, such as snow gear, life-jackets, coats, air-beds, cables and tubing, sports equipment and medical products including blood bags and replacement valves. Of course its downside is that it is a bit more expensive than the alternatives.

There are lots of arguments and counter arguments surrounding bio-gradability, waste and the carbon footprint.
The majority of waste management infrastructure currently either recycles regular plastic waste, incinerates it, or places it in a landfill, yet none of these are sustainable. We cannot recycle our way out of this mountainous plastic problem.
One answer is for waste management companies or councils to start collecting bio-degradable plastics with other organic waste for industrial composting, it would surely make economic sense and be much more sustainable.

In the meantime bio-degradable TPU is the future, it could replace regular TPU and PVC as a type of plastic that degrades much more quickly; plus by the time items made of TPU now get to the end of their useful life as a product, the waste infrastructure will be in a much better place to handle bio-degradable products.

The Billy Eco15 swim tow float is the UK’s first biodegradable swim tow float, it is made from biodegradable TPU.


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Design products to inspire swimming and adventure.
Use business to raise awareness of environmental issues.

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All Statements and recommendations have been researched to the best of our ability.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

andrea tucker