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

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

We are glad that you landed on our page. There are obviously more articles on compostable coffee pods, coffee and coffee capsules. Other interesting posts on sustainable coffee pods are for instance from leading media publishers, or Moving Beans. Or go through our good article on Nespresso pods.

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

In this blog site, we attempt to break down these concepts through easy explanations that will hopefully assist you much better comprehend their significance and be more aware of the options you are taking as a customer. 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 biodegradable; or undoubtedly feature both properties. They vary from standard plastics because the latter are made from fossil oil (gas). The advantages of using renewable products to produce bioplastics are: boost in resource effectiveness (e.g. use of biomass for different purposes), reduction of the carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions (those that significantly add to environment change); and saving fossil resources by gradually substituting them.

BIODEGRADABLE.

Biodegradation is a process – a chemical process – during which microorganisms that are available in the environment transform materials into natural compounds such as water, carbon dioxide, and garden compost (artificial additives are not needed). The procedure of biodegradation depends upon the surrounding ecological conditions (e.g. area or temperature), on the products included and on the procedure itself. This procedure can take brief amount of times (weeks and months) or extended periods of time (tens or perhaps centuries).

The home of biodegradation does not depend on the source material of the item however is rather linked to its chemical structure. It is therefore essential to understand that ‘Bio-based’ does not mean ‘eco-friendly’. Simply put, plastic items made from biomass (a type of bioplastic) are not always eco-friendly. On the other hand, some petrol-based plastics might be eco-friendly.

Video: Sustainable and Nespresso Pods by Moving Beans.

The household 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 eco-friendly (e.g. PLA, PHA or PBS);.
  • petrol-based plastics that are biodegradable (e.g. PBAT).

COMPOSTABLE.

Composting is also a process– a chemical process. In fact, it is the process of biodegradation under aerobic conditions (existence of free oxygen) within a time frame of 6-12 weeks. You need particular conditions of humidity, aeration and temperature, for microbes, like germs or fungi and their enzymes, to be able to “absorb” the chain structure of eco-friendly plastics. The resulting final result are water, co2 and some biomass. The number and kind of microbes is likewise an important component in this process. There are two ways to perform this process: industrially or home-compost.

Industrially compostable conditions are extremely specific and they have been specified under the European norm EN 13432 for packaging items and adopted by the British Standard Institution under BS EN 13432 standard. Only those product packaging items that fulfill the rigorous requirements of the EN 13432 standard are given with the accreditation of OK-Compost Industrial and can be unambiguously thought about industrially compostable. In practice, this suggests that you can dispose this material in your organic 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 requirement but rather within numerous country-based ones. Since the conditions in a home-compost are not that manageable as in the case of an industrial compost, this is. Under home-composting condition temperature levels and humidity can differ substantially from place to place, and year on year, not always accomplishing the ideal decomposition in a sensible timeframe.

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

Moving Beans is a start-up that has provided coffee capsules for a very long time, with much more information under the website of Moving Beans. Or go through an interesting blog on compostable coffee pods. They were one of the first to deliver plastic-free Nespresso-compatible coffee capsules.