You may have heard more about biodegradable materials in the past few years, and how we should all be looking to reduce our use of traditional plastics and instead seek to use biodegradable materials when possible. But, what exactly does biodegradable mean? What are the benefits of biodegradable bags? Should your business switch to biodegradable bags? This article explains everything about biodegradable bags and their advantages for the environment.
What Does Biodegradable Mean?
The strict definition of a biodegradable material according to the Cambridge Dictionary is a substance or object that is ‘able to decay naturally and in a way that is not harmful.’
In other words, if something is biodegradable, then eventually it will break down into smaller pieces by microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi.
It can be a little confusing though since there is no time limit on how long it must take before a biodegradable material needs to break down by. That is the main difference between compostable and biodegradable plastics. And an important consideration to take into account when choosing biodegradable bags for your business.
Find out more about the differences between biodegradable, compostable and recyclable materials.
Polystar Compostable Bags
Through continued research, development, and field trials, Polystar is proud to be one of the key independent specialist UK manufacturers able to produce this product which is a 100% compostable material made from a blend of co-polyester and PLA (sugar cane).
Our fully biodegradable, compostable bags and film are 100% compostable, as well as this Polystar’s biodegradable bags’ key features, include the following:
- Fully recyclable
- Equivalent strength and weight compared to traditional plastic
- Degrades on land or sea
What are the advantages of biodegradable bags?
As you can see, there is no compromise in quality when it comes to using biodegradable bags, but what further advantages are there? There are multiple benefits to choosing biodegradable bags, here we’ve created a list of the top seven reasons why you should choose biodegradable packaging products for your business.
1. Reduction In Carbon Emissions
Polystar’s unique biodegradable material is made from PLA bioplastic. As this is plant-based, the manufacturing process produces far fewer carbon emissions than traditional plastic. While traditional plastic releases four tons of emissions, biodegradable plastics emit only 0.8 tons of carbon – a 500% reduction!
2. Waste Reduction
Currently, the UK generates over 30 million tonnes of household waste every year, approximately 35% of which is garden and kitchen waste. As biodegradable plastics break down over time, this means there is a large reduction in the volume of waste being created which means less waste ending up in landfill. With less wastage taking up space in landfills, the outcome is less overall waste to manage. Saving land for other purposes and preserving the beauty of our planet.
3. Repurposing & Recycling
The oils that come from plants make bioplastics far superior materials compared to traditional plastic types. The oils make the surface of bioplastics more malleable and less brittle so that it’s easier to form new shapes and textures.
They are just as moldable as traditional plastics and can be turned into various appealing ways to suit your requirements. In addition to this, they can also be recycled and repurposed multiple times in their life cycle.
Compare this to some non-biodegradable plastics, they are not safe for repurposing because some materials can leak toxic, dangerous chemicals that may leak after the first use. Since biodegradable bags and packaging come from natural materials found in nature, there are no dangerous chemicals or toxins in these items.
4. Reduced Pollution
As biodegradable products break down naturally, they eventually decompose and are consumed by soil and other natural components. This natural process means no forced chemical reaction needs to take place to kickstart the process and less pollution will happen as a result.
Given that they take a lot less time to decompose than traditional plastics, they are easy to recycle, that’s too without releasing toxic elements.
Biodegradable bags are made from natural materials which means that they are safer for users.
Traditional plastics are made with harmful by-products and chemicals which are a threat to the environment and life as well. They are likely to emit these harmful substances during the breakdown process. What’s more, the plastic used for most standard water bottles, PET, can attract harmful bacteria or even leak chemicals.
But this is not a case with biodegradable plastic, further supporting the case for biodegradable plastics. They are safe and don’t release toxins during their breakdown process. They are absorbed by the soil.
6. Less Petroleum
Biodegradable plastics also minimises the use of petroleum supplies. Traditional plastic is manufactured by oil molecules being heated and treated to convert into polymers.
Nearly 2.7 per cent of a country’s petroleum is used in the traditional plastic manufacturing processes.
Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, are made using natural materials such as sugar cane, corn, orange peels, starch, and plants. This process requires far less energy and usually does not involve the burning of fossil fuels.
Therefore, this means that the amount of biodegradable plastics that can be manufactured is much higher while simultaneously using far less energy. So, as well as using less precious resources, there is less pollution being produced. By reducing the production of traditional plastics and making more biodegradable plastics instead, we can reallocate oil resources to other causes like heating and transport.
7. Brand Friendly
Another benefit of biodegradable bags is the positive effect it can have for your brand. Major corporations such as Coca-Cola are using bioplastic products due to its sustainable reputation. Choosing greener options can have a positive impact on your brand alongside helping the environment.
So as demonstrated, there are many benefits of using biodegradable products. They are safe for the environment and their use should be encouraged. However, the need for plastic usage awareness and education regarding their repurposing is necessary as wise use can make a difference.
If you are interested in sourcing greener packaging alternatives we’d love to hear from you. Please call us on 02380 232153 or contact us online to take advantage of our free consultation service and see how much you could save.