The use of plastic packaging has become commonplace in our world. From food and beverage containers to vitamin and supplement products, it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing some kind of plastic packaging. Unfortunately, this type of packaging is not biodegradable, meaning that it can take hundreds or even thousands of years for the material to break down naturally.
But there is a solution: biodegradable packaging! This type of eco-friendly alternative breaks down much faster than traditional plastics and does not release toxic chemicals into the environment as it decomposes. It also requires fewer resources during production, making it a more sustainable choice overall.
In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using biodegradable packaging and why companies should consider switching from traditional plastics if they want to reduce their environmental impact. We will cover what biodegradable packaging is, how to identify if a package is biodegradable, and what biodegradable materials are used for packaging.
What is Biodegradable Packaging?
In general terms, biodegradable packaging refers to packaging materials that will naturally break down and decompose without harming the environment. The term “biodegradable” has been commonly used in a broad sense to refer to sustainable packaging materials that can naturally decompose. However, this definition is too vague since it encompasses materials with different decomposition rates and conditions. Examples range from wooden boxes to cellulose-based wrappers. The latter breaks down in a matter of weeks, while the former can take several decades or even centuries. Some biodegradable packaging is advertised as sustainable even though it is bad for the environment. It’s important that the biodegradable packaging that you use is more than just biodegradable. It should be good for the environment in the long run as well.
How to Identify if a Package is Biodegradable
To ensure you receive a genuinely biodegradable package, seek out certified packages labeled as “compostable”. These packages are deemed compostable by certification and biodegrade securely in a commercial or home composting environment. The certification guarantees that the package will decompose entirely and securely under specific conditions and within a set time frame. You can rest assured that your bag or box will decompose entirely within six months to a year in a household or industrial compost, leaving behind nutrient-rich soil.
What Are Biodegradable Materials for Packaging?
It is a common misconception that biodegradable packaging is solely made from bio-based or plant-based materials. However, the truth is that biodegradability depends on the molecular structure and strength of the material’s polymer chain, rather than its source. To be biodegradable, the polymer structure of the material must be capable of disintegrating into tiny pieces that can be safely digested by microorganisms. Therefore, biodegradable packaging can be produced from both bio-based and fossil-based polymers.
It is common knowledge that plastics can be derived from fossil-based polymers. However, the distinction between non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastics may not be clear. Traditional plastic packaging is composed of sturdy carbon chains, which require a very long time to decompose. Thus, they’re unsuitable as biodegradable packaging. Conversely, packaging made from weak molecular structures like paper or cellulose can break down rapidly. This rapid break down makes them much more desirable as biodegradable packaging as they will stay im the environment for a vastly shorter amount of time.
Biodegradable packaging is the future of sustainable packaging. It offers a much more eco-friendly option for companies and consumers alike, as it reduces their environmental impact by breaking down faster than traditional plastics while still providing adequate protection to its contents. Not only that, but biodegradable materials can be derived from both bio-based and fossil-based polymers meaning there are plenty of options available depending on your needs. With all these benefits in mind, we urge you to make the switch to biodegradable packaging today! Doing so will help ensure our planet stays healthy for generations to come.
If you have any further questions about biodegradable packaging, or you’re interested in a biodegradable packaging solution for a product of yours, contact the team at Maple Mountain Co-Packers today for more information. We are committed to providing our clients with the best packaging solutions available and we look forward to helping you in any way that we can.