The behaviour of end consumers has changed and is focusing more and more on the aspect of sustainability. With the increasing environmental focus, the alternatives to plastic packaging are also on the rise. This also applies to compostable packaging.
Certain conditions must be met for a product to be compostable, including, for example, a certain amount of heat, oxygen, water and time. The period of time is fixed and amounts to 9-12 weeks, within which time the product must have completely decomposed. Biodegradable products, on the other hand, do not have a specific period of time in which they degrade naturally. Accordingly, compostable products are also biodegradable, but not vice versa.
Compostable products must follow certain European regulations to ensure that they are truly 100% compostable and do not contain harmful residues. A disadvantage of industrial composting is that the energy needed to produce the compostable products is lost because no new plastic is produced afterwards.
In addition, the term "bio-based" plastic is often mistakenly associated with biodegradable and compostable products. However, "bio-based" plastic describes the material of the products, which consists of renewable raw materials (e.g. corn, sugar cane). Unfortunately, this alternative is not yet the solution to the existing waste and packaging problem, as bio-plastics degrade too slowly and therefore cannot be recycled at present, but have to be incinerated. Ultimately, the required resources (e.g. sugar cane) are cultivated in monocultures.
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