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Buy best value eco packaging, including biodegradable bags and compost bags, to do your bit for the environment.
Biodegradable packaging is...
Why we use eco-friendly bags
Biodegradable bags are a convenient alternative to traditional polythene bags and cause less pollution or damage to the environment. Traditional polythene will degrade - i.e. break down into smaller and smaller molecules - over time but this process takes a lot longer than the time it takes for biodegradable materials to break down when they come into contact with microorganisms.
Therefore, biodegradable packaging takes less time to break down from the full product to nothing, which means they take up less valuable space in landfill sites, thereby creating less of a long term impact on the environment.
The argument for using eco-friendly bags is represented for many by the common 'single use' plastic carrier bag or traditional thin carrier, often handed out in shops and supermarkets across the UK.
Whilst the term 'single use' is, in itself, a misnomer and one that potentially contributes to the problem of plastic bag waste - there is, after all, no reason why a 'single use' carrier bag can't be used more than once, thus lessening its impact on the environment - the extremely high use of thin carrier bags in everyday life sums up the argument that many people make against the use of polythene packaging.
There is no denying that plastic bags create a lot of waste and, even though this represents less than 1% of household waste in the UK*, most of this waste ends up in landfill sites.
* Source: WRAP - Waste & Resources Action Programme
Whilst most carriers bags today are made from recycled polythene, the material (polymers) that these bags are made from, such as polythene and polypropene, are unable to be broken down by microorganisms and therefore take longer to break down in landfill sites than biodegradable alternatives.
So if you use a biodegradable carrier bag to do your shopping, you can console yourself with the fact that you are doing your bit for the environment and, when that bag eventually gets disposed of, it will take longer to become one with the earth than a traditional polythene alternative.
But, perhaps just as importantly, whatever bag you use - make sure you don't throw it away after using it when it's still perfectly capable of being used again.
Remember people - there is no such thing as a 'single use' carrier bag!
Degradable and biodegradable - what's the difference?
"What's the difference between a biodegradable product and a degradable product?" we hear you ask. Both degradable and biodegradable materials are both used to make packaging today, so why is biodegradable packaging supposed to be so much better to use than normal degradable packaging?
Well, let's first take a look at the definition of each word:
degradable (adjective) - Capable of being degraded. spec. Susceptible to chemical or biological degradation.
biodegradable (adjective) - Of a substance or object (esp. refuse or a potential pollutant): able to be broken down and decomposed by the action of living organisms (esp. bacteria), or their metabolic or biochemical processes
So both a degradable packaging and biodegradable packaging, when disposed of, will break down over time into smaller and smaller pieces. Sounds like there's not much a difference between the two then? Well, that's where you're wrong.
The key difference between biodegradable and degradable materials is that natural organisms and bacteria will break down a biodegradable product much faster than oxygen, moisture, heat and/or light will break down a degradable product.
So if you throw away two plastic bags - one biodegradable, the other degradable - at the same time and in similar conditions, then the biodegradable bag will break down into biomass, water and carbon dioxide significantly faster than the degradable bag.
For the biodegradable product, the biodegradation process might take just a few weeks or months, while a degradable bag will take many years to degrade fully.
Faster degradation leads to less time in landfill sites, which saves space, energy and cost, hence why biodegradable bags are the eco-friendly alternative to degradable packaging.
Where to buy biodegradable packaging
Biodegradable packaging manufacturers and suppliers include:
Biodegradable Packaging Ireland
Environmentally Friendly Bags
Biodegradable Plastic Bags
Biodegradable Bags UK
Recycled Plastic Bags
Research & Resources
For more on biodegradable bags, the huge range of eco-friendly packaging available, along with details of how it is made and how it works, please visit:
PlasticBags.uk.com: The UK's number one polythene packaging directory. Advertisers can list items for free and shoppers can browse a selection of biodegradable bags websites.
Goldstork: Free 'pick-of-the web' directory featuring specialist websites and lots of information on biodegradable bags.
PackagingKnowledge: The go-to knowledge website of the polythene packaging industry, featuring loads of useful information about biodegradable bags.
Biodegradable packaging - i.e. packaging made from biodegradable polymers - is sometimes known as 'eco-friendly packaging' or 'eco-packaging'.
If you take the traditional polymers (molecules) used to make traditional polythene and add particular chemicals to these polymers, you can create biodegradable polymers that can be broken down by microorganisms.
These polymers can then be used make biodegradable polythene, which can in turn be used to make biodegradable packaging, or eco-packaging.
Eco-friendly packaging is created using a range of biodegradable polymers, including starch- or bacteria-based polymers or blends, water-soluble polymers, oxo-biodegradable polymers or photodegradable polymers.
Eco-friendly packaging has been a popular alternative to traditional polythene packaging for a number of years and can be found, amongst others, in the form of carrier bags, bin liners, refuse bags, compost bags, dog poop bags and other waste bags.