1. Materials which can be completely biodegraded (bio-assimilated) by micro-organisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae.
No time frame is specified or conditions set for biodegradable materials. Some regulatory bodies are removing the term Biodegradable as it is deemed too vague.
Oxo-degradable products contain conventional plastics. Additives help breakdown the plastics into micro pieces but remain as particles and never truly degrade given micro-organisms will not digest the synthetic monomers.
- Defined as recycling. Something that can be used as compost once decayed.
Materials that are compostable under composting conditions, heat, humidity, oxygen and with the presence of micro-organisms will break down in to CO2, water and nutrient-rich compost within a specific time frame.
Why compost matters – Food packaging can be too contaminated with food waste to recycle and usually goes to incineration or landfill. Compostable packaging can be disposed off with food waste (where accepted) avoiding incineration and landfill and returns organic matter to soil.
Bagasse / sugarcane
Bagasse is a byproduct of sugarcane. Once the juice is extracted from the sugarcane the remining stalk which would otherwise be burnt or wasted is used to produce Bagasse a natural compostable starch derivative from sustainable tree free resources.
Bagasse products are moulded in a high heat under high pressure producing fully compostable robust products that are both water and oil resistant and are suitable for direct food contact and refrigerator and microwave safe.
Bagasse is aimed for composting in commercial composting sites where temperatures are controlled. However, bagasse has completely degraded in home compost heaps as soon as six months.
Bagasse is not currently recyclable.
A natural versatile sustainable product, used in many industries from construction to food sources. Suitable for hot and cold food products or liquids Bamboo releases 30% less carbon during processing compared to wood pulp and requires no chemical treatments much like paper based products.
PLA and cPLA / Corn Starch
Polylactic Acid is a compostable plant extract derived from renewable, sustainable resources such as corn, cassava, sugar cane or beets. To extract starch, plants are milled producing glucose, through fermentation glucose is converted to lactic acid, following a series of chemical processes, lactic acid is converted to polymer resin. PLA resin performs as a traditional oil based plastic and is 100% compostable in a controlled environment, avoiding adverse environmental effects.
Plastics that are derived from biomass such as PLA are known as Bioplastics. PLA is transparent and used to produce cold cups, straws and line food boxes where the contents need to be clearly displayed. PLA film is laminated to paper board to enable coffee cups to be watertight.
PLA and cPLA are certified compostable to EN 13432, degrading within 90 days in industrial composting facilities.
cPLA is opaque, usually matt white in colour and commonly used for the production of compostable coffee cup lids and cutlery. Crystallized Polylatic Acid is formed by rapidly heating and cooling corn starch, sugars and by adding chalk. Black coffee lids are made black by adding charcoal during manufacture, both are heat resistant up to 85 °C.
Manufactured from pine or birch trees with no additives or protective coatings making them 100% natural. All wood products are sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified members.
Referred to as Biopolymer, derived from non-genetically modified corn starch and vegetable oils cultivated in Europe. Certified as compostable in accordance with European and international standards. Our Mater-Bi products are typically compostable tableware and refuse sacks.
All grades of Mater-Bi are entirely compostable in accordance with the European composting norm EN-13432. The properties and characteristics of Mater-Bi are very similar to those of traditional, non-sustainable oil based plastics.
Fallen leaves from the Southern Indian Areca tree are mechanically pressed to form individually unique patterned food safe dinnerware such as plates, bowls and platters. Oil and water resistant and heat resistant to 220°C. Certified compostable.
compostable to EN 13432 standard.
Compostable and recyclable. Typically coffee cups and paper food containers are manufactured using paper pulp from FSC certification forests.
Kraft offers a good strength and is often used for packaging material, making it ideal for the double and triple wall kraft coffee cups in natural brown colour.
Standards and Certifications explained
Certified to BS EN13432 (requirement for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation) or must meet requirements of an appropriate home composting specification.
EN standard 13432:2000 – requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation – was introduced in 2000. It was adopted by national standards bodies in many of the European Union Member States, for example published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution. Its scope is specifically compostability and anaerobic digestibility of packaging
PEFC & FSC
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification
Forestry Stewardship Council
PEFC a non-profit, non-governmental organisation the world’s largest forest certification organisation and FSC are similar, both ensure wood and paper are sourced through sustainable forestry. PEFC, established in 1999 by 11 European countries is a national standard. FSC is a global standard with two key components, Forest Management and Chain of Custody; the process of handling information on the origin of forest-based products.