BIODEGRADABLE AND COMPOSTABLE PLASTICS
What are Annually Renewable Resources?
- These are resources that are annually sustainable and are harvested within a 1 year growing season and include items such as
corn, potatoes and other crops.
What is degradable Plastic?
- Degradable plastics are oil based and break down through chemical reactions rather than the activity of micro-organisms, so they
can degrade in an anaerobic environment into water, CO2, biomass and trace elements.
What is Biodegradable Plastic?
- A Biodegradable plastic in which the degradation results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria,
fungi and algae (ASTM D 6400-99). Biodegradable plastic can release the toxin when they biodegrade.
What is Compostable Plastic?
- A plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, in organic compounds, and
biomass at a rate consistent with other compostable materials and leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue (ASTM D
What is the difference between Biodegradable and Compostable?
- Compostable means that the product will completely break down into carbon dioxide, water and sometimes humus (organic
matter that remains after plant residues have decomposed), under specific conditions. A compostable product will not
contaminate the environment and not reduce the value of the finished compost. When a product is compostable, it should meet
Amercian Society of Testing and Materials standards.
- Biodegradable products are those that partially break down. Biodegradable products will leave traces of material in the
environment, may release toxicity in the environment and cannot be used by the earth’s ecosystem as a food source.
What causes the process of biodegradation to begin?
- A biodegradable product will only biodegrade if it is in an environment which includes moisture, heat, and microorganisms.
Without those three components, there will be no biodegradation.
Do you carry traditional paper or plastic products?
- Yes, we do. However, we encourage eco friendly products.
Are there any standards that certifies the Biodegradable and Compostable Plastic?
- Following international organizations have established standards and testing methods for compostability:
The ASTM, CEN and DIN standards specify the criteria for biodegradation, disintegration and eco-toxicity for a plastic to
be called compostable. While ISO 14855 makes no stipulations regarding disintegrations or toxins remaining.
Biodegradability : It is determined by measuring the amount of CO2 produced over a certain time period by the biodegrading
- ASTM, ISO and DIN standards require 60% biodegradation within 180 days.
- European Norm EN13432 is the strictest standard, requiring 90% biodegradation within 90 days.
Disintegration : It is measured by sieving the material to determine the biodegraded size and less than 10% should remain on a
2mm screen for most standards.
Eco toxicity : It is measured by having concentrations of heavy metals below the limits set by the standards and by testing plant
growth by mixing the compost with soil in different concentrations and comparing it with controlled compost.
What is ASTM Certification?
- In the USA, the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) certifies bioplastics under the ASTM 6400-99, standard for "compostable
Why do biodegradable products tend to cost more than traditional plastic products?
- These are relatively new products, and in their infancy stage. The companies that produce the raw materials and bio-resin based
products generally have not achieved the production capacities or volume levels needed to produce "lowest cost" efficiency levels.
In addition, the technology required is still in early stages as new methods are being developed. Therefore, the laws of supply and
demand keep the bio-resin costs higher than some traditional petroleum based plastics.
How does the life cycle of compostable product work?
- In essence, you make the products from nature's renewal sources, use them, and throw them in the compost to complete the life
cycle of the bio-compostable products.