With the UK government poised to implement a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 80% from 1995 levels by 2050, it is becoming important to source materials and fuels from renewable resources to reduce our environmental impact. Bio-based plastics have been used in medicine for years and were also considered for automotive parts in the days of Henry Ford. However, with climate change on the minds of manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike, there is renewed interest in bio-based plastics.
Truly compostable bags have enormous potential for drastically reducing the the environmental impact, as we see today in the improving programes countrywide of separate food waste collection schemes Compostable material will become progressively more widespread as the demand for sustainable solutions increases. Maintaining and improving both efficiency and quality is key to the entire biological resource industry, using bags certified to EN13432 will help reach both these goals.
Bio-based plastics can be used in a variety of applications to replace petroleum-based plastics (petroplastics). Most bio-based plastic materials used in Europe today are starch-based. Compostable plastics are manufactured from renewable plant materials such as starch, cellulose, oils (e.g. rapeseed oil), lignin (wood), proteins (e.g. maize zein) and polysaccharides (e.g. xylans). Recent technological developments have also proven that it is now possible to utilise organic waste materials and petroplastics (e.g. PET Clear eg. Juice bottles and cups) to produce synthetic bio-based plastics.
In the UK these materials are currently used to manufacture refuse and carrier bags as well as food and consumer goods packaging along with other non-packaging niche markets.