Many products today can be made from some type of biodegradable plastic, from eating utensils to product packaging. This plastic can break down without damaging the environment, instead of taking up room in landfills or polluting the earth and oceans.
While not perfect, the use of biodegradable plastic is becoming more widespread. As technology continues to progress, more and more companies are turning to these types of plastics.
There are several different kinds of these plastics available to manufacturers today. While you probably can’t tell which type of biodegradable plastic you’re using, you can still find it interesting to learn about what is available and being used.
Bio- or starch-based plastics, are made from corn, soy or potatoes. These plastics meet standards set by the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) for composting, breaking down 60 percent or more within 180 days or less. In order to do this, bio-based plastics need water, heat and aeration.
Examples of products include:
Thermal-based biodegradable plastic has an additive that causes it to break down when exposed to high temperatures. This plastic is safe to use for food containers since it is non-toxic. Most times, this product can also be recycled.
The two main types of this film are oxo- and hydro-biodegradable. The difference is that oxo- needs oxygen in order to break down while hydro- needs moisture.
Another additive-based film is manufactured by Maverick Enterprises, known as Green Film™. This film degrades first into humus and then into carbon dioxide or methane and water when buried. It also:
Other biodegradable plastic manufacturers include: