When considering the different types of Bio/Eco plastics that are available, it is important to differentiate between the actual origin of the material and the desired function of the material, as confusion often arises between durable renewable or biomass derived plastics and biodegradable plastics.
Some of the main options currently available include:
● Bio-origin polymers, including PLA – plastics based on renewable sources i.e. corn starch, cellulose, sugar cane or from other natural waste products. Can also include water soluble polymers.
● Biodegradable & Compostable materials (or additives.) which in some cases may provide non-toxic by-products e.g. biomass, after being broken down by naturally occurring bacteria
● Oxo-Biodegradable – A masterbatch additive, for adding to PP or PE. This type of additive tackles the key issue of plastic litter in the environment. It is important to note that this option is not a compostable material, but an additive which breaks down and destroys the plastic at the end of its useful life, if it has not been collected for recycling.