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What is Plant-Based Plastic?

A Guide to bio-based and Biodegradable Packaging

What connection exists between the materials used to make plastic and how it affects the environment? Does "plant-based" indicate that the plastic will biodegrade in a similar manner as plants? Do biodegradable plastics have a finite range of applications? Are bioplastics the same as plant-based plastics? Are they also safe to eat?

What are plant-based (or bio-based) plastics made of?

Plants! Plant-based plastics are manufactured from ingredients like corn, starch, seaweed, sugarcane, wood pulp, bamboo fibre, and more, despite how fantastic some of the materials made fully or partially from them may appear to be.

Agricultural waste or scraps can be used to make plant-based or bio-based plastics, which can be produced with less of the world's oil resources than the 8% that petroleum now consumes.

What’s the difference between plant-based (bio-based) plastic and bioplastic?

While "bioplastic" can refer to plastics whose feedstock is wholly or partially obtained from biomass, biodegradable plastics, or plastics that are both bio-sourced and biodegradable, "plant-based" and "bio-based" are comparable phrases that refer to the source of the plastic polymers.

Is all plant-based plastic biodegradable?

No, not always. The chemical makeup of the plastic, not its source, determines its ability to degrade. All plastics are composed of polymers, which are long chains of molecules constructed from monomers, which are themselves single molecules that can come from either plant-based or petroleum-based sources.

Plastic must be capable of breaking down into smaller bits and being consumed by microorganisms in order to be considered biodegradable, or more particularly, compostable. Although not all plant-based plastics are like this, many of them are.

It's crucial to read the disposal instructions on your plant- and bio-based plastics if you want to buy a bioplastic that can biodegrade properly. Only substances that have been certified as biodegradable have had their ability to decompose in commercial or residential compost facilities assessed.

Are plant-based plastics better than conventional plastics?

The source of the material is what distinguishes plant-based polymers from traditional plastics. Plastics created from plant-derived molecules, as opposed to molecules obtained from petroleum, are known as plant-based plastics. Plastics made from plants and those made from petroleum are equivalent in terms of their end-of-life (some will biodegrade in compost, while others will not). However, unlike petroleum-based plastics, which are produced using energy-intensive extraction methods from a finite source of crude oil, plant-based plastics are produced using renewable ingredients.

Are plant-based plastics good for the environment?

With many of the same qualities, plant-based polymers provide an alternative to fossil-based plastics. In order to protect the environment and reduce climate change, it is best to source goods made with renewable plant-based resources rather than from a limited supply of petroleum.

Do plant-based plastics reduce plastic pollution?

Plant-based plastics and materials lessen our dependency on petroleum, but they do not provide a safe end-of-life for your package or a solution to plastic pollution. Numerous plant-based polymers either cannot biodegrade or do so only under very restricted circumstances.

Look for certified compostable plastics, which have been demonstrated to successfully biodegrade under composting circumstances, while searching for a plastic package that won't produce hazardous plastic trash.

Are all compostable plastics made from plant-based sources?

How quickly and under what circumstances a plastic can safely breakdown are what determine whether or not it can be composted. Numerous compostable polymers, including TIPAs, are produced using fossil and plant-based materials. According to international laws, the packaging from TIPA is certified to fully and safely compost in Australia, Europe, America, and Ireland.

What are plant-based plastics used for?

In particular, sustainable packaging and single-use plastics like food service items (deli containers, cutlery, cups, and plastic bottles), laminated paper trays, and compostable flexible packaging are made using plant-based (or bioplastics) rather than conventional petroleum-based plastics. The compostable bags from TIPA can be used for a variety of things, including fresh produce, dry goods, frozen foods, and more!

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