Is your Shopping bag compostable or biodegradable? And why does it matter
Posted on December 25th, 2017

What is the difference between Compostable, Biodegradable and Degradable or Oxo-degradable (EPI bags).

The terms biodegradation, biodegradable materials and compostability are often misused.  Other terms used are degradable or oxo-degradable which few people understand the differences, leading to confusion in the market place.

Degradable or oxo-degradable describe where the traditional plastics, such as polyethylene are treated with additives, usually consisting of calcium carbonate and heavy metals which causes the material to disintegrate over a number of years.  Degradable bags do not ‘compost’ when composting, and will contaminate the end compost reducing its value or limiting its use.  Imagine the look of your bag of gardening compost full of bits of plastic.

Similarly degradable bags will contaminate any recyclable plastics feedstock, causing great damage to a material which should be able to be recycled over and over again.  Just imagine if degradable bags make it into your recycled decking material where it could reduce its life considerably.

Misuse of the terms compostable and biodegradable can lead buyers to costly mistakes.  Some countries have now moved to ban the use of the word biodegradable on packaging, as there is little benefit if the end product still ends up in landfill.  Products may be described as compostable provided they conform to accepted standards.

European Standard EN 13432 which lays down criteria for what can or cannot be described as compostable and what can be called biodegradable.  The US Standard ASTM D6400-99 sets out similar standards.  European Standard EN13432 is the basis of the ISO Standard.  These standards are intended to ensure that the materials will break down in industrial composting conditions.

Green Plastic Industries has been a trusted source for 100’s of eco-friendly products that help you live greener and reduce your carbon footprint through switching to sustainable versions of products you use every day — and introducing you to some you might not have thought of.

We specialize in Eco-friendly compostable biodegradable Lunch sheets ,Shopping bags, plates, hot cups, cold cups, utensils, takeout containers, trash and storage bags

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