For a long time, the vast majority of garbage or shopping bag materials have been made of plastic, and this reliance on synthetic polymers has led to serious ecological problems.
Use biodegradable and recyclable bag materials to show your customers that your business is environmentally responsible. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of biodegradable bags and how to choose the right bag solution.
What are Biodegradable Bags?
Biodegradable bags are made of materials that break down easily after being discarded under the action of microorganisms. This ability to break down quickly helps control the accumulation of waste in landfills and contributes to a safer, healthier environment.
These biodegradable bags are designed to reduce environmental impact compared to traditional plastic bags, which can remain in the environment for hundreds of years.
However, being labeled “biodegradable” doesn’t mean the bag material is automatically sustainable. For a biodegradable polymer to be sustainable packaging, it must decompose within a short period of time (typically 12 months or less).
Does Biodegradable Equal Compostable?
No, biodegradable does not necessarily equal compostable, although the terms are often used interchangeably. There is a distinct difference between the two concepts:
Biodegradability refers to the ability of a material to break down naturally into simpler, harmless substances through the action of microorganisms over time.
Biodegradable materials can break down in various environments, including landfills, oceans, or natural settings, but the rate and conditions of degradation can vary widely.
Some biodegradable materials might leave behind small residues or fragments that might not be entirely harmless.
Compostability refers to a higher standard of biodegradability, specifically in a controlled composting environment.
Compostable materials are designed to break down into organic matter that can enrich the soil when processed in a commercial composting facility.
Composting facilities provide the necessary conditions of temperature, moisture, and microbial activity to facilitate the rapid and complete degradation of compostable materials.
Compostable materials should ideally break down within a specific timeframe and leave no harmful residues behind.
In essence, while all compostable materials are biodegradable, not all biodegradable materials are necessarily compostable. Compostable materials undergo a more rigorous testing and certification process to ensure that they meet specific standards for degradation and do not disrupt the composting process or result in harmful byproducts.
Common Biodegradable Bag Material Types
Below is a list of the most popular biodegradable bag materials on the market today.
Cornstarch (Polylactic Acid, PLA)
Cornstarch-based biodegradable bags are a popular choice. They are made from fermented corn sugars and are compostable under certain conditions. PLA bags look and feel similar to traditional plastic bags but have a lower environmental impact.
Bags made from potato starch are similar to cornstarch-based bags in terms of compostability. They are derived from potatoes and are suitable for disposal in a composting environment.
Wheat starch is another source of biodegradable bag material. Bags made from wheat starch break down more easily, especially in moist conditions.
Cassava-based bags are made from the root of the cassava plant. They are compostable and can decompose relatively quickly under the right conditions.
Some biodegradable bags are made from specially formulated biodegradable polymers derived from natural sources. These polymers are designed to break down into non-toxic components over time.
Algae-based bioplastics are being explored for use in biodegradable bags. Algae grow rapidly and can be a sustainable source of biodegradable materials.
Bags made from cellulose, a plant-derived compound, are biodegradable and can break down in composting environments.
Jute or Hemp
Some biodegradable bags are made from natural plant fibers such as jute or hemp. These materials are strong and durable, making them suitable for various bag types.
Seaweed-based materials are being investigated for use in biodegradable bags due to their rapid growth and potential sustainability.
What Should I Pay Attention to When Choosing Biodegradable Bags?
- Degradation Timeframe: Different biodegradable bags can degrade at different rates. Some may break down in a matter of months, while others might take longer. Consider how long you’re willing to wait for the bags to decompose.
- Intended Use: Consider the purpose for which you’re using the bags. Are they for packaging, carrying items, or something else? Ensure that the bags’ properties align with their intended use.
- Strength and Durability: Biodegradable bags should still be functional and durable for their intended use. Check if the bags can hold the weight and type of items you plan to carry or package.
If you want to adopt biodegradable bags for your business, look no further than Hytrend. Our biodegradable bag solutions are 100% compostable and biodegradable. You can create your own branded bags by uploading your logo and design or illustration templates on our website.
Discover the Perfect Solution for Your Business with Hytrend
With many competitively priced eco-friendly alternatives on the market, more and more businesses are recognizing the opportunity to switch to eco-friendly bags.
As awareness of the environmental impact of plastics grows, many cities around the world have moved to ban materials derived from fossil fuels. Eco-friendly and sustainable materials are the demands of this day and age, and biodegradable bags are just what your business needs to stay ahead of the competition.
So let us know if you want to get biodegradable bags from the right source. We have many options for you to choose from.
Please call us and let us know what’s on your mind. We will get back to you immediately with a fair quote.