We read an interesting BBC News Article on 8th January about the impact of banning plastic packaging. The article discusses a report called ‘Plastic Promises’ which discusses the potential issues with using alternative materials like bioplastic for single-use packaging.
It’s a complex issue and it seems with each solution there is always another environmental cost. In the article they make some important points:
Supermarkets are selling more cartons which are lined with plastic and we do not have the infastructure to recycle them.
Glass bottles are heavy and are more polluting to transport.
Most biodegradable or compostable plastics may only be composted industrially.
Polylactic Acid Packaging
We’ve noticed a big trend of brands switching to compostable and biodegradable packaging options like bio-plastics often in the form of Polylactic Acid (PLA). PLA is only 100% biodegradable under specific conditions which are unlikely to be present in landfill or seawater. It is compostable when controlled for temperature, pH, humidity and other factors. These are conditions that are not present when packaging is sent to landfill.
When investigating our food packaging we noticed a few products on the market using cellulose/corn starch/wood pulp packets. We found 100% cellulose bags but cellulose alone doesn’t provide an effective barrier to moisture and therefore aren’t suitable for many types of food. Most of the ‘food-grade’ cellulose bags we could find contained a type of plastic called polypropylene. Polypropylene provides an effective moisture barrier and heat seal. It’s possible that cellulose/bioplastic bags are available which is potentially a better option that polypropylene due to the potential compostability and biodegradability, but we still need to remember that they are unlikely to be industrially composted so need to keep their use to a minimum.
*Top Tip - If you have a home compost make sure that the packaging you put in it is suitable for home composting. A lot of packaging types are only suitable for industrial composting.
The bottom line for us is that we reduce plastic use whilst being aware of the impact of other packaging options, particularly those with claims regarding compostability and biodegradability.
Our food supplements are packaged in paper pouches which are able to keep the product inside fresh, a UK first!
Click here to find out more about our plastic free packaging.