The Shift Toward Biodegradable Regulation
In a shift toward tighter regulation regarding biodegradable plastics, the UK will now require plastic claiming to be biodegradable must prove that it breaks down into a harmless wax which contains no microplastics or nanoplastics.
This new style of biodegradable products will contain a clear recycle-by date, to show consumers that they have a window to dispose of them before they begin to break down. The biotransformation chemicals created by Polymateria are added to plastic in the manufacturing stage of an item, with a bespoke element in the formula for each type of plastic item being produced.
Biodegradables Not Breaking Down
This comes after A recent study discovered biodegradable plastics were not nearly as capable of breaking down as many consumers suspected. The research in question found discarded plastics were still able to serve as a shopping bag after spending 3 years in soil. The study (which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology) ran tests of varieties of different shopping bags. They were exposed to open air, submersed in seawater and buried in soil. The research showed that all broke down within 9 months of being exposed to air, but in the soil exposure tests, these biodegradable bags were still capable of holding 2kg worth of weekly groceries despite being buried for 3 years. The research and development of biodegradable packaging is very important. But as it currently stands, recyclable is still the most sustainable option.
APC 2025 Plan
While the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation’s plan for 2025 includes biodegradable options, it’s real focus is recyclability. There are a number of ways to repurpose materials during the recycling process such as textiles, insulation, chairs and benches. They can also be combined with additional materials to create useful surfaces for roads & airport runways. In many ways, the process is also more eco-friendly than other waste management options due to its minimal contribution to global warming and the conservation of existing materials.
The new standard for biodegradable plastic is a welcome one and something the world should embrace as a potential consumer trend toward biodegradable is dangerous. Biodegradables are an important piece in a vital effort to ensure packaging becomes as sustainable as possible. However, widespread belief amongst consumers that these packaging solutions simply become part of the earth again after their disposal is counterproductive. If left unchecked, the relationship between our packaging and our environment will start moving in the wrong direction.
No matter what industry you are in, if your business is searching for a sustainable packaging supplier then we would love to know how we can help.