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Bioplastics, Biodegradability And Compostability – Do You Know The Difference?
Bioplastics, Biodegradability And Compostability – Do You Know The Difference?

Bioplastics, Biodegradability And Compostability – Do You Know The Difference?

We are super glad that you are here. Generally, there are obviously more articles on coffee, coffee pods and compostable coffee pods. Other meaningful posts on compostable coffee capsules are e.g. from leading media publishers, or Moving Beans. Alternatively check out our pertinent article on Nespresso pods.

We are often being asked what bioplastics are, or what is the significance of an item being compostable or eco-friendly? Is there any relationship in between bioplastics and biodegradability? How should we consumers deal with these products?

In this blog, we attempt to break down these principles through simple descriptions that will hopefully assist you better understand their meaning and be more knowledgeable about the options you are taking as a consumer. Let’s go step by step:

BIOPLASTICS.

These are products that are either stemmed from biomass (e.g. plants, such as corn or sugarcane) or are eco-friendly; or undoubtedly feature both homes. They vary from traditional plastics in that the latter are made from fossil oil (fuel). The benefits of using eco-friendly products to produce bioplastics are: increase in resource efficiency (e.g. use of biomass for different purposes), reduction of the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions (those that greatly add to climate modification); and conserving fossil resources by slowly replacing them.

BIODEGRADABLE.

Biodegradation is a procedure – a chemical process – throughout which bacteria that are offered in the environment convert materials into natural substances such as water, co2, and garden compost (artificial additives are not needed). The procedure of biodegradation depends on the surrounding environmental conditions (e.g. location or temperature), on the products included and on the process itself. This procedure can take short time periods (weeks and months) or long periods of time (tens or even hundreds of years).

In other words, plastic items made from biomass (a type of bioplastic) are not necessarily eco-friendly. On the other hand, some petrol-based plastics may be biodegradable.

The family of bioplastics can be divided into 3 main groups:

  • bio-based (or partly bio-based) but non-biodegradable plastics (e.g. PE, PP, PET, PTT or TPC-ET);.
  • plastics that are both bio-based and naturally degradable (e.g. PLA, PHA or PBS);.
  • petrol-based plastics that are naturally degradable (e.g. PBAT).

Video: Sustainable and Nespresso Pods by Moving Beans.

COMPOSTABLE.

Composting is also a process– a chemical process. It is the procedure of biodegradation under aerobic conditions (presence of complimentary oxygen) within a time frame of 6-12 weeks. There are two methods to perform this process: industrially or home-compost.

Industrially compostable conditions are very specific and they have been defined under the European norm EN 13432 for packaging items and adopted by the British Standard Institution under BS EN 13432 requirement. Just those product packaging items that fulfill the strict requirements of the EN 13432 requirement are granted with the accreditation of OK-Compost Industrial and can be unambiguously considered industrially compostable. In practice, this indicates that you can dispose this material in your natural waste bin for it to be sent out to the closest industrial composting facility.

Home-compostable product packaging rather is not covered under one single widely-known standard but rather within a number of country-based ones. Because the conditions in a home-compost are not that controllable as in the case of a commercial compost, this is. Under home-composting condition temperature levels and humidity can differ significantly from location to location, and year on year, not constantly achieving the best decomposition in a sensible timeframe.

Nowadays, however, society and experts in the field see the requirement for moving into this direction if we wish to become more sustainable. That is why we may see extremely interesting developments and innovations in this home-composability space in the following decade.

Moving Beans is a market challenger that has provided coffee pods for a very long time, with much more information at this link. In addition go through an interesting article on compostable Nespresso pods. They were one of the first to sell sustainable coffee capsules.