TUBEX 12D Degradable Shelters
What is TUBEX 12D technology?
TUBEX 12D is a new material technology combining biopolymer (starch based) and an oxo-biodegradable polypropylene. Whilst our traditional treeshelters are made from polypropylene, photodegrading from UV radiation; our new TUBEX 12D material contains a biopolymer and a catalyst which accelerates degradation and reduces the reliance on UV degrading the material. The name 12D demonstrates customers receive all the benefits of a traditional shelter with the added benefit of degradation. Our customers will still enjoy the same ease of installation of TUBEX, their trees will receive the same high level of protection and support, and 12D gives the added value of completely degrading on site.
The products that will be available in tubex 12D material include:
Service Life vs Degradation period
Our products will be offered in different service lives. The service life is the number of years the treeshelter will remain intact and perform as a treeshelter should; protecting, microclimate, light transmission.
We will have 2 service life offerings;
- 3Y – designed to degrade after 3 years of service life
- 5Y – designed to degrade after 5 years of service life
The time frame in which the product will degrade will always be dependent on the environment it is in. Many factors contribute to this process, with the important ones being sunlight and bacteria. Sunlight is needed to break up the polymer chains whilst bacteria are needed to digest these small chains.
We expect with a 5Y product, around 5 years of service life, with around a further 5 years of degradation.
How does TUBEX 12D degrade?
TUBEX 12D has two elements of degradation. Firstly UV stabiliser is used to control the service life and stop premature degradation. The PP stops premature biodegradation of the biopolymer. Once the UV stabiliser has gone the product will start to degrade. The PP will start to photodegrade and this process is accelerated by the catalyst encouraging a reaction with oxygen. Once the PP chains shorten, they are ingested by fungi and bacteria ultimately making them biodegradable. At the same time the biopolymer is exposed to moisture, bacteria and fungi and will start to biodegrade.
What will it look like when it is degrading?
After its service life, the treeshelter will start degrading from top to bottom. The material will become brittle and eventually crumble. Bits will fall on the ground. As time passes, the pieces will continue to degrade.
Benefits vs Cost
TUBEX 12D gives you:
- A shelter that has all the benefit of a traditional shelter (light transmission, microclimate, ventilation, protection, easy to install) with the added benefit of degrading
- A completed product lifecycle (shelf life, service life, degradation period) that fits the needs of our customers
- 3 and 5 year service life available across the range
- More sustainable material – 30% comes from renewable resources
- Reduces the need to remove shelters after tree establishment
- Saving money on labour, storage, accessing site etc
- Reduces the need to recycle shelters