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With a variety of green and environmental products in the market, it is easy to find yourself confused or misled by various terminologies including the definition of biodegradable, compostable and degradable.

Biodegradable

Biodegradable indicates the process of biological breakdown by microorganisms including, bacteria, fungi and enzymes. These microorganisms eat away at the biodegradable material leaving behind only natural constituents of biomass, carbon dioxide and water. Subsequently these natural materials can be safely re-absorbed back into the earth.

Compostable

Compostable refers to the biological breakdown and recycling of ‘Organic’ or ‘Biodegradable’ materials within a composting environment. An ideal composting environment is subject to certain heat or moisture conditions. Decomposition of such materials results in the addition of rich nutrients to the soil and can be an effective form of fertiliser for home gardeners and farmers.

Degradable

Degradable products are oil-based with an additive included to trigger the process of degradation – They are not biodegradable or compostable. Degradable materials break down via a chemical reaction and the end results of degradation do nothing more than break down the oil components into smaller fragments leaving behind the same amount of plastic dust. Degradable bags require specific UV conditions in order to break down and will remain intact when composted or buried in landfill.

  • Plastic

    • Petrolum oil
    • Renewable Resource
    • Durable
    • Light Weight
    • Malleable
    • Reusable
    • Recyclable
    • Biodegradable
    • Compostable
    • Decomposition

      Takes Hundreds of Years to Decompose

    Cons

    • Chemicals used in Manufacturing process
    • Petroleum sourving to produce plastic is an invasion on the Earth
    • Often mistaken for food by small animals and sea life
    • incineration produces harmful carcinogenic gases & residue which harm land water, animals & humans

    Degradable

    • Petrolum oil & chemical additive to break down bags
    • Renewable Resource
    • Durable
    • Light Weight
    • Malleable
    • Reusable
    • Recyclable
    • Biodegradable
    • Compostable
    • Decomposition

      Only break down into smaller particles of plastic when exposed to specific UV conditions

    Cons

    • Chemicals & heavy materials used in manufacturing process
    • Partial break down leaves residue which is often ingested by animals
    • Degrasable plastic has a long decompostion period as it contains plastic additives
    • Will not decompose if buried
    • Heavy metals can leak into the water table

  • Paper

    • Trees( a renewable resource)
    • Renewable Resource
    • Durable
    • Light Weight
    • Malleable
    • Reusable
    • Recyclable
    • Biodegradable
    • Compostable
    • Decomposition

      Paper and cardboard wil decompose in approximately 1-2 months

      Cons

    • Fossill fuels are burned to manufacture a paper bag adding 70% moreair pollution than the manufacturing of a plastic bag
    • Takes 5x more energy to produce a paper bag over a plastic bag
    • One gallon of water is required to produce one paper bag
    • The regeneration time of trees is slow – once cut will take years to grow back

    Biodegradable

    • Vegetable based corn starch ( an annually renewable resource)
    • Blodegradable proprietary components
    • Renewable Resource
    • Durable
    • Light Weight
    • Malleable
    • Reusable
    • Recyclable
    • Biodegradable
    • Compostable
    • Decomposition

      Blodegradable material must decompose in 90 days within industrial compost

    Cons

    • Blodegradable Bags are not suited to recycling
    • Limited shef life
    • Is slightly more expensive than petroleum based peoducts

Raw Materials

  • Renewable Resource
  • Durable
  • Light Weight
  • Malleable
  • Reusable
  • Recyclable
  • Biodegradable
  • Compostable
  • Decomposition

Cons

Plastic

  • Petrolum oil
  • Takes Hundreds of Years to Decompose

  • Chemicals used in Manufacturing process
  • Petroleum sourving to produce plastic is an invasion on the Earth
  • Often mistaken for food by small animals and sea life
  • incineration produces harmful carcinogenic gases & residue which harm land water, animals & humans

Degradable

  • Petrolum oil & chemical additive to break down bags
  • Only break down into smaller particles of plastic when exposed to specific UV conditions

  • Chemicals & heavy materials used in manufacturing process
  • Partial break down leaves residue which is often ingested by animals
  • Degrasable plastic has a long decompostion period as it contains plastic additives
  • Will not decompose if buried
  • Heavy metals can leak into the water table

Paper

  • Trees( a renewable resource)
  • Paper and cardboard wil decompose in approximately 1-2 months

  • Fossill fuels are burned to manufacture a paper bag adding 70% moreair pollution than the manufacturing of a plastic bag
  • Takes 5x more energy to produce a paper bag over a plastic bag
  • One gallon of water is required to produce one paper bag
  • The regeneration time of trees is slow – once cut will take years to grow back

Biodegradable

  • Vegetable based corn starch ( an annually renewable resource)
  • Blodegradable proprietary components
  • Blodegradable material must decompose in 90 days within industrial compost

  • Blodegradable Bags are not suited to recycling
  • Limited shef life
  • Is slightly more expensive than petroleum based peoducts

Certifications

At ECP Plastics, we recognise that with an array of products in the marketplace, it is important to ensure that our product claims of biodegradability and compostability are true and certified. Worldwide standards have been introduced for both ‘Compostability’ and ‘Biodegradability’ and each of the standards are tailored to meet the specific requirements of various regions across the world.

 

Our raw materials along with all of our products have been awarded certifications by various professional bodies as seen below…

Claims of Biodegradability or Compostability should be externally tested and validated by certified professional bodies. The becausewecare™ BF90 series materials have been extensively tested by Organic Waste Systems (OWS) – the leading authority for testing of Biodegradable and Compostable products in the world.

 

Under the Australian Standard (AS4736-2006), the European Standard (EN13432-2000) and the American Standard (ASTM D6400), biodegradable and compostable products are required to breakdown at a 90% level within six months in a range of settings that simulate litter and aerobic composting environments. Degradation and decomposition must be by genuine microbial action resulting in organic components, rather than mere structural decomposition into smaller pieces as with ‘Degradable’ plastics. The becausewecare™ biodegradable and compostable material will decompose via microbial action in 45 days.

 

Additional requirements of the various standards include a mandatory requirement for a volatile solid product composition of greater than a 50% level – a requirement at which becausewecare™ materials exceed, at 99% volatile solid level.

 

Should you require any further information about our testing procedures and certifications, please contact our team.

Petroleum based plastic bags are cheap to manufacture, lightweight, tough and convenient to produce. Retailers and manufactures save on cost and time but at the end of the day, our environment is ultimately being sacrificed.

Environmental Impact & Change

Very few people realise what goes into producing a plastic bag. Millions of tons of petroleum oil are consumed every year to manufacture products that are generally considered ‘single use’. Most of which end up in landfill or are incinerated in the process of waste management.

 

The careless disposal of plastic bags can affect millions of wild life and sea life who often mistaken whole bags or fragments as food. As a result they end up choking or are unable to process the plastic, leaving them suffocating or dying.

 

With the environmental impacts and pollution of the plastic bag becoming a growing issue around the world, many countries, states and provinces are now either imposing bans or in the process of policy change on the use and supply of plastic bags. On the list are Ireland, Thailand and Italy alongside states such as California and South Australia who are leading the way in addressing this topical issue.

We have developed an environmentally responsible alternative – a solution that is both Compostable and Biodegradable.FIND OUT MORE