Can you hear the call from Mother Earth? Do you fancy a clean and healthy environment? Then, what are you waiting for? It’s time to be an EcoManiac! Take the initiative and spread awareness! Increase the use of biodegradable products to make the future worth living for the next generation. These products are true friends of the environment!
Biodegradable is the capability of being broken down quickly by the actions of microorganisms for recycling. Furthermore, no harmful residues are left behind to damage the environment. Suppose you want to be a part of the green movement, some information about biodegradable goods and its properties can help you broaden your knowledge. Therefore, the article will give you the insights of biodegradable products. Check this out!
Table of Contents
- What Does Biodegradable Products Mean?
- How Are Biodegradable Products Made?
- Pros and Cons Biodegradable Products
- What’s Better: Biodegradable or Compostable?
- Biodegradable Products Manufacturers
- What Happens To Biodegradable Waste When They Are Thrown?
- Final Thought
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Does Biodegradable Products Mean?
Biodegradable products are material which can be decomposed by microorganisms. Biodegradable basically refers to the ability of a substance to degrade into ever-tinier components that can be reabsorbed by the environment, ideally without generating any pollution, by bacteria, fungus, or microorganisms.
Let’s dive in deeper about biodegradable items in the following points below.
1. What Are Biodegradable Products
Products that can be broken down into water, carbon dioxide, and biomass by living things—typically microbes—are said to be biodegradable. Biodegradable goods are frequently made from petrochemicals, microorganisms, renewable raw materials, or mixtures of all three.
2. Type of Biodegradable Products
You can categorize biodegradable items as oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable. Both types will physically disintegrate and have their molecular weights drastically reduced as a result of chemical degradation, the former by oxidation and the latter by hydrolysis. There would be biodegradation in both types. In the end, both are ultimately transformed into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass.
3. New Biodegradable Materials
You may understand that green garbage, food waste, paper waste, and biodegradable plastics are all common examples of biodegradable. However, there are some new biodegradable materials that can be the future material to save our planet. Here are some new biodegradable materials created by several manufacturers:
- 100BIO – Polylactic Acid (PLA) Styrofoam
100BIO is produced in the US by TAG Packaging. It is a fully compostable foam for food packaging, made from PLA, that completely biodegrades in a commercial compost in less than nine weeks. Compared to conventional plastic or paper goods, the foaming method consumes up to 60% less raw material.
- Ecoshell – Plant-Based Materials
Ecoshell, a firm based in Mexico, creates a technology to create disposable goods and films from plants that biodegrade in 90 to 240 days without polluting the environment. They have a positive impact on the environment by giving microorganisms the materials they need to reintegrate packaging into the environment.
- Pond – Bioresin and Natural Fibers
A Danish company called Pond creates bio-resin products that are completely biodegradable and 100% biobased. Natural fibers like flax, hemp, pineapple, palm leaves, cotton, bananas, and jute can be bound with them to produce entirely biodegradable items.
- Eggplant – Polyhydroxybutyrate Bioplastics (PHB)
A zero waste approach is used by the Italian start-up EggPlant to produce high-performance bioplastics using advanced bioplastics as a base. PHB bioplastic, created by EggPlant, is entirely bio-derived and biodegradable. It is appropriate for use in a variety of applications and industries such as electronics, cosmetics, bio-med, etc.
- Sulapac – Wooden-Based Materials
Sulapac is a Finnish start-up that creates completely biodegradable wood-based packaging. Like plastic, it can be mass-produced, fabricated, and molded. Its resistance to water, oil, and oxygen is the same as plastic’s. The business also makes straws that are marine-degradable and free of microplastic.
How Are Biodegradable Products Made?
Biodegradable products usually are made by plants as a renewable resource. One of the most popular products is bioplastics. They are often produced using renewable resources and plant by-products like cornstarch or sugarcane. These materials are solved by distilled water, glycerol, and additives in the high speed and temperature to make a thick solution.
Later, the thick solution will be extruded to be a bioplastic.
Pros and Cons Biodegradable Products
We are all aware of the serious threat that plastic poses to the environment, harming both people and animals worldwide. Yet we continue to use it. Therefore, biodegradable items have been created in order to provide environmentally beneficial alternatives to the severe effects of plastic waste.
However, how effective is bioplastic as a solution to this problem? Let us give you a better understanding of biodegradable products’ advantages and disadvantages.
1. Benefit of Biodegradable Products
Due to its environmental advantages over conventional plastics, which are difficult to dispute, biodegradable materials are thought to be more environmentally friendly. We may better understand why we should choose biodegradable plastics over regular plastic by looking at the benefits listed below.
- Less Carbon Emission
We use more than 100 million tons of plastic annually on average. According to the typical 5:1 production ratio, this sector annually emits 500 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, only about 0.8 tons of carbon are emitted during the production of one ton of bioplastics.
- Less Energy Consumption and Less Petroleum
Biodegradable polymers are produced with less energy than conventional plastics, which are produced with a lot more energy. For the same quantity and quality of plastic, biodegradable plastic takes 65% less energy than plastic made from crude petroleum.
- Less Breakdown Time
Biodegradable plastics use alternative materials, specialized enzymes, or chemicals to break down the content between three and six months after exposure to the elements. Meanwhile, regular plastic takes an incredibly long time—more than hundreds of years—to break down once discarded.
- Recyclable And No Release of Toxins
In order to reduce the growing amount of plastic waste and greenhouse gas emissions from industry production, biodegradable plastics can be easily recycled. Since they don’t contain carbon, chemicals, or poisons like other ordinary plastics do, biodegradable plastics are likewise non-toxic.
2. Negative Impact of Biodegradable Products
Biodegradable polymers provide a number of benefits over conventional plastics, but they also have certain drawbacks. Let’s talk about a few of them!
- High Production Costs
The production of biodegradable plastics has a capital cost that is 50% greater than that of conventional plastics. However, they might not be an inexpensive alternative to save our planet in the future.
- Difficult Composting And Disposal Method
Biodegradable plastics that need to be processed cannot be properly disposed of without processing if the right tools are not available. Industrial composters are needed to convert biodegradable plastics into composts, and in some nations, the equipment’s accessibility is a problem.
- Release of Methane During Composting
Methane is a gas that is produced during the breakdown of some biodegradable plastics, and its potential for harm is far greater than that of CO2.
What’s Better: Biodegradable or Compostable?
Understanding the distinction between compostable and biodegradable materials can be very confusing. All compostable items are also biodegradable, but not all biodegradable items are compostable. Compostable products can degrade over time since they are created from organic materials or plants. Therefore, after degrading, compostable products contain no hazardous substances that could harm the environment.
In contrast, biodegradable materials are typically employed in plastics because they degrade into microplastics more quickly than ordinary plastic does, regardless of the environment. It is possible to obtain biodegradable products that are created from petroleum-based plastic that decompose more quickly and also those made from plant-based ingredients.
When it comes to the better alternative that does least harm the planet, in our opinion, compostable is the right choice. The only useful residual goods that compostable products that decompose in compostable environments would leave behind are fertilizers and other things that enhance the soil’s health.
Contrarily, because biodegradable plastics rely on the process of creation, some of them may leave behind micro toxic waste residue.
Biodegradable Products Manufacturers
More businesses are creating biodegradable alternatives for single-use packaging and tableware in recent years. These are some manufactures that produce compostable and biodegradable goods that are made from materials like plants and fibers, so they can decompose naturally and can even replenish the environment with useful resources.
One of the most, if not the most, successful bioplastic start-ups is TIPA. Think of TIPA when it comes to the biodegradable flexible plastics such as Ziplock bags and trash bags. Consumers use this kind of plastic frequently, and it could be a game-changing innovation for a more sustainable future.
- World Centric
This company has many different types of biodegradable bags, dishware, and cutlery available for personal or professional usage. These eco-friendly disposable items are created from perennial plants with long roots that help store carbon underground. World Centric is also certified biodegradable.
The coolest environmentally friendly innovation since the creation of the internet is plantable paper plates from Lifepack. You can use their plate and bury it in the ground to see a plant emerge from it. To provide your new sapling the nourishment it needs to flourish, they even incorporate significant minerals in the plate.
- Be Green Packaging
Be Green offers foodservice packaging that complies with legal specifications while safeguarding the environment and your food. To provide consumers with compostable packaging, they have teamed with organizations including Google, Gillette, Samsung, Whole Foods, and Virgin America.
EcoWare offsets every energy output by investing in green technology, making it a carbon-neutral business. They sell bioplastic packaging that has an 80 percent reduced carbon impact than standard plastic in addition to their biodegradable dishware.
What Happens To Biodegradable Waste When They Are Thrown?
When you throw biodegradable waste away, it can be broken down into natural substances like carbon dioxide and water vapor by bacteria and fungi. Usually, it will be faster for biodegradable waste to decompose compared to other waste.
You should maintain the temperature and humidity to decompose biodegradable waste. It is preferable to dispose of them in a recycling facility or a commercial compost pile.
Biodegradable products give us better alternatives to save our planet. They produce less carbon emission, less energy required, and are easy to decompose. Since, it will take the majority items hundreds of thousands of years to decompose, consider choosing renewable based products.
What are you waiting for? Start to replace the conventional plastic with bioplastic to support green movement now!
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How do you use biodegradable products?
Since they have similar properties to the conventional plastics, you can use them as the usual practice. Moreover, you can help to reduce plastic waste since biodegradable products are faster than the conventional one to decompose.
How do you know if a product is biodegradable?
If anything can be broken down by bacteria, fungi, or another biological process, it is “biodegradable. You can also check if there is a biodegradable certified label on the product. In addition, you can look for the plastic recycling symbol.
Is biodegradable plastic safe?
Although biodegradable plastic appears to be safe for the environment, it has long been a source of contention for environmentalists. They can contaminate other plastic recycling processes and end up producing microplastics. However, in comparison to conventional plastic, this product is easier to decompose and made from renewable resources, giving a better choice to save the planet.
Is biodegradable better than recyclable?
Yes, it is! Products that are biodegradable degrade substantially more quickly than recyclable products. Biodegradable materials decompose into harmless substances including carbon dioxide, water vapor, and organic debris. They are often produced using renewable resources and plant by-products like cornstarch or sugarcane.
Can biodegradable be recycled?
No, they can’t. Although technically recyclable, biodegradable and compostable polymers are not currently recycled back into new plastics. Instead, when they are gathered together, they are handled as an impurity in the recycling of traditional plastics. The recycling process can be contaminated if compostable and biodegradable plastics are put into a regular recycling bin because they are not currently recyclable.