Lost in translation

We get a lot of questions and confusion around the term bio-plastic so we thought we would take a bit of time to explain what the different terms mean according to us. So at least you understand what we mean when we talk about them.

Bioplastics are not just one single material. They comprise of a whole family of materials with different properties and applications. According to European Bioplastics, a plastic material is defined as a bioplastic if it is either biobased, biodegradable, or features both properties.

So if you take our water bottle, it is produced from a biobased material, sugarcane but it does not biodegrade. It needs to be recycled in your conventional recycling systems.

If we take a bioplastic like PLA (polylactic acid) produced from corn, quite a lot of one use food items such as cutlery and bowls are produced from PLA now. They are biodegradable in commercial composters but they cannot be recycled and they will not biodegrade in your home composter. They need high temperatures, moisture and air in order to biodegrade and if they end up in landfill they will not biodegrade either and end up releasing methane gas which is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

So there is a bit of Monday knowledge for you. We’re all now a little bit smarter, just call me Hawking!


Alex Nash

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