Biodegradable plastics have been around since the late 1980s. This isn’t a new topic, but a topic that has been around for a while. Biodegradable plastic has initially been marketed with the implied promise that they’d somehow disappear once they were disposed of, just as leaves on the forest floor are decomposed by fungi and soil microbes. However, it hasn’t work out according to this promise and has added to our growing plastic problems on landfills. And if you throw some biodegradables or bioplastic in with recyclables, you impact the recycling process of traditional plastic, creating a mix that can no longer be relied on to make durable new plastic. Ultimately, turning a once positive intent into a much harder challenge to put a stop to.
Our research so far
A few things we have learned from researching the web to better understand packaging alternatives to offer even more sustainable solutions to our consumers and be part of a circular economy. With the biggest topic “if bioplastic is a solid alternative to plastic”.
Here are our top 10 points what we’ve learned so far:
- Bioplastic does not mean biodegradable.
- The recycling systems aren’t in place to recycle Bioplastic. And one cannot put it in the same bin as plastic as it requires a different recycling process to break down the material.
- Bioplastics may divert land away from growing food in an increased food-scarce world.
- If PLA [bioplastic] does leak out, it also will not biodegrade in the ocean. It’s not any different from industrial polymers. It can be composted in an industrial facility, but if the system isn’t available in a town, then it’s not any different to the plastic we have today.
- Growing sugarcane, corn etc to produce bioplastic can impact the biodiversity. And reduction in biodiversity is our biggest thread to regain balance with our planet again.
- How much water is needed to grow fields of corn, sugarcane and alternatives to produce bioplastic.
- Looking at alternatives – look below the sea-level. There’s no shortage of incredible opportunity for alternatives that are marine degradable, that don’t overtax the land and our food production system.
- Environmental issues associated are pollution from fertilisers.
- We produce more material but don’t think through the entire lifecycle how to recycle the material regardless of its composition to develop a circular economy.
- Increasing attention and awareness on the plastic problem has pushed governments to introduce new treaties.
At NAYA, we use glass bottles and all other materials are fully recyclable with the systems in place in our society today. If you don’t know how to recycle our bottles, please reach out to us. Or refer to our ‘Our Packaging’ process below :
|Material||Recycling Process||Our Packaging|
|Glass||Glass is sorted by colour, crushed, melted and reshaped. Make sure you clean the bottle as thorough as you can.||Bottles and jars|
|High Density polyethylene (HDPE)||Plastics are categorized by their resin type. Then melted down to then re-use it.||Oil Cap
|Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)||Plastics are categorized by their resin type. Then melted down to then re-use it.||Some labels|
|Steel||Steel melted down and reused.||Spring inside the pumps.|
|Paper||Paper is sorted, cleaned and then re-used||Outer cartons
|Seeded Paper||You can plant it and grow your own flower bed. It is made of recyclable material by hand and no toxins.||Seeded cards|
- Separate the various parts of each container.
- Wash your containers as best you can before.
- Put them in the recycling and place into the appropriate recycling bin.
Please look up your local recycling processes in your area. But if you don’t know how to recycle in your area, we are here to support you.
- Send us a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on Instagram with the hashtag #NAYAempties of your empty & cleaned bottles.
- And we’ll send you a unique code for a 15% discount off your next order.
Thank you for helping us to grow into an even more sustainable and transparent brand.
1 Gibbins, S., (2018), “What you need to know about plant-based plastics. Can bioplastics truly relieve pressure on the environment? Experts weigh in.”, National Geographic. Available online: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/11/are-bioplastics-made-from-plants-better-for-environment-ocean-plastic/
2. Cho, R. (2017), “The truth about bioplastics”, Earth Institute, Columbia University. Available online: https://phys.org/news/2017-12-truth-bioplastics.html
3. Piemonte, V., Gironi, F. (2011), “Bioplastics and Petroleum-based Plastics: Strengths and Weaknesses”, in (PDF Available)Energy Sources Part A: Recovery(21):1949-1959 · August 2011 with 22,237 Reads Available on: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233135576_Bioplastics_and_Petroleum-based_Plastics_Strengths_and_Weaknesses
4. Parker, L. (2018), “We made plastic. We depend on it. Now we are drowning in it.”, National Geography, Available online: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/06/plastic-planet-waste-pollution-trash-crisis/
5. Tabone., Michelangelo D., Cregg, J. J., Beckman, E.J., Landis, A. E., (2010), “Sustainability Metrics: Life Cycle Assessment and Green Design in Polymers, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Department of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemistry, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261 Received May 13, 2010. Revised manuscrip. Available Online: http://www.news.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/documents/TaboneLandis_etal.pdf
6. Ritchie, H., Roser, M., “Plastic Pollution”, University of Oxford, Available online: https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution