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May/June 2008
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Proposed New Standards Focus on Backed Vinyl Siding, Bioreactor Landfill Conditions

House with vinyl sidingAll interested parties are welcome to join in the standards developing activities of ASTM International Committee D20 on Plastics. Current D20 projects such as the development of proposed new standards covering backed vinyl siding and bioreactor landfill conditions demonstrate the diversity of D20’s work.

Backed Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding with an integral foam plastic backing has been commercially available for nearly a decade. Because backed vinyl siding is a variation of basic siding, testing and third-party certification for it have been covered under D3679, Specification for Rigid Poly(Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Siding. However, because the popularity of backed vinyl siding has risen, it is now the subject of a proposed new standard, WK18425, Specification for Rigid Poly(Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Siding with Foam Plastic Backing (Backed Vinyl Siding). Subcommittee D20.24 on Plastic Building Products is developing WK18425.

“As with D3679, which will continue to cover unbacked vinyl siding, the proposed new standard may be used by vinyl siding manufacturers as the basis for third-party certification for foam-backed products,” says David Johnston, senior technical director, Vinyl Siding Institute, and D20 member. “Third-party certification of vinyl siding is required for acceptance under the major model building codes. With the addition of an ASTM standard for backed vinyl siding, the codes will be able to require third-party certification specifically for this type of siding.”
Performance requirements and test methods addressed by WK18425 will include materials properties and dimensions, warp, shrinkage, impact strength, expansion, appearance and windload resistance.

Biodegradability of Plastics in Landfill Conditions

A proposed new standard being developed by Subcommittee D20.96 on Environmentally Degradable Plastics and Biobased Products will aid in the determination of degradation and biodegradation of plastics in landfill environments. All interested parties are encouraged to participate in the development of WK18427, Determining the Aerobic Degradation and Anaerobic Biodegration of Plastic Materials Under Accelerated Bioreactor Landfill Conditions.

“We are looking for people who are knowledgeable in landfill operations, biological processes that occur in diminishing oxygen environments,” says Graham Swift, a consultant on biodegradable plastics and a D20 member. “The landfill environment changes from aerobic to anaerobic over time and this is not really well-characterized or understood.”

Swift says that a major application of the proposed standard will be degradation testing, under landfill simulation, of plastics used in packaging applications and food service that cannot be readily composted at present as no facilities are available. “These are more than likely to end up in landfill sites where, if not degradable, they will occupy large volumes and exclude other waste,” says Swift. “If these plastics are demonstrated to be degradable or biodegradable then the landfill volume reduction problem is reduced.”

Determining the degradability/biodegradability of the new sealing technologies that use plastic sheeting to seal daily fills is another potential way that WK18247 will be used, according to Swift. The use of plastic covers to seal daily fills eliminates the need for several inches of soil coverage on a daily basis which detracts from landfill coverage.

“Manufacturers of packaging plastics likely to end up in landfill sites are sure to be users of WK18427, either voluntarily or by request from end users in packaging,” says Swift. “Also, the companies developing landfill covers will be obliged to consider the proposed new test method. Finally, landfill operators and owners ought to insist on the use of WK18427 to ensure that plastics do breakdown in a landfill.”

CONTACT

Technical Information:

(WK18425) David Johnston, Vinyl Siding Institute, Washington, D.C.

Phone: 202/587-5102

(WK18427) Graham Swift, GS Polymer Consultants, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Phone: 919/960-0832

ASTM Staff: Brynn Murphy

Phone: 610/832-9640