Compostable Plastic Bags

Compostable Plastic Bags

Compostable Plastic bags are a new generation of plastics which are biodegradable through composting. They are derived from renewable raw materials like starch (for example corn, potato, sugar cane and so on), cellulose, soy protein, lactic corrosive and so forth., The bio-plastics are not hazardous to produce and are intended to break down into carbon dioxide, water, biomass (soil) when composted. There are some compostable plastics that are not derived from renewable materials, but instead made using petroleum or made by bacteria through a procedure of microbial maturation.

Will compostable plastics break down? Compostable bio-plastics will break down into soil (ie, return to nature) and not hang around for hundreds of years like traditional plastics. Compostable plastic bags are a subset of biodegradable packaging.  Most compostable plastics are intended composted in a industry or commercial compost system, and may not quickly break down under ambient condition. Whether the compostable plastic will break down while your product is in it? That is unlikely and highly variable depending on your specific application, give us a call or email to discuss more.

Compostable Plastic Quick Facts

  • Can be Freezer Safe
  • Depending on material composition can handle hot food till 200F.
  • Fully compostable in commercial composting operations.
  • Feel and look like plastic for the most part.
  • Some will compost in ambient (home) composting conditions.
flexible barrier packaging material biodegradable pouch bags

What is compostable plastic bag materials do you sell?

Material CodeNameEco-Friendly StyleDescriptionMinimum OrderPrintableBioBasedStand Up PouchLay Flat BagsCustom Sizing
5001BioKraftCompostable / BiodegradableKraft paper exterior with compostable heat seal barrier liner.5,000 Bags*YesYesYesYesYes
5002-ABioClear-ACompostable / BiodegradableSemi-clear compostable barrier material a good base for custom printed projects.25,000 bags*YesYesYesYesYes
5002-BBioClear-BCompostable / BiodegradableVery clear base layer compostable, but more brittle then BioClear-A. Great for product windows.50,000 bagsYesYesCallYesYes
5003NatureFlex NKR Compostable / BiodegradableCoated Transparent Cellulose, high clarity, and CFR73 compliant. Good oil and grease resistance.75,000 bagsYesYesYesYesYes
5004Mitsubishi BioPBSCompostable / BiodegradableAmbient compostable, FCN approved PBS material.100,000 bagsYesYesYesYesYes
5005Recycle-ready 4Recyclable"Code 4" Biax clear base recycleable barrier film, printable, product window compatible.25,000 bagsYesNoYesYesYes
5006Recycle-ready 5Recyclable"Code 5" Biax clear base recycable barrier film, printable, product window compatible.10,000 bagsYesNoYesYesYes

What are compostable plastic bags made from?

Compostable plastics are generally made from a raw material such as corn, sugar cane and starch made from (PLA) polylactic acid. Currently, the most common raw material uses in PLA is field corn, although other plant sources are being developed. Polylactic acid (PLA) is one of the primary alternatives to traditional oil-based plastics. Polylactic acid is highly popular as a plant-based polymer (a bio-plastic) because its general performance characteristics are similar to many non-compostable polymers and can be processed in similar ways. There are some distinct performance trade-offs that must be considered when using polylactic acid as a laminate element in flexible barrier packaging, but with continued technological advancements many of these limitations are being overcome. Below is a example of a bio-plastic bottle disintegrating under composting condition.

biodegradable plastic bags decompose Compostable Plastic Bags

(PLA) Polylactic Acid The Versatile Economical Compostable Plastic

PLA, PBS, and high clarity cellulose are the main materials currently. PLA is highly popular as a plant-based polymer because it can processed and converted similarly to petrolum plastics and has similar performance characteristics to many non-compostable polymers.. There are some distinct performance trade-offs that must be considered when using polylactic acid as a laminate element in flexible barrier packaging, but as the technology continues to advance many of these are becoming moot. Initially we will give a brief overview of both biodegrable and compostable material classes, then explore polylactic acid in more detail.

What is PLA? PLA is a biodegradable and bioactive thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch. This is unique and ground-breaking material. PLA can be made from: Sugarcane, Cassava, and corn, among other sugar rich plants. Polylactic acid can readily decomposes and biodegrades into biomass, water and co2 at ambient temperature conditions in open air landfills and requires no specialized compositing facilities. Let’s quickly brush up some of the important benefits barrier packaging material and how they’re made.

Common Questions

Polylactic Acid is principally made through two different processes I.e condensation and polymerization. The most common polymerization technique is known as ring-opening polymerization. This is a process that utilizes metal catalysts in combination with lactide to create the larger polylactic acid molecules. The condensation process is similar with the principal difference being the temperature during the procedure and the by-products (condensates) that are released because of the reaction. Here are some the reasons why biodegradable and compost barrier packaging made of PLA is a great choice for many applications.

PLA is very clear, can be processed into either a COEX or Biaxially oriented film (BOPLA). BOPLA is the most common form of film used for flexible packaging as a barrier film. PLA based compostable plastic bags can specifically replace PET, and biax PP film layers for many application. When PLA is laminated to a paper it can create a more durable packaging solution than when PLA is cross laminated to itself.

The primary drawback of compostable materials like PLA is that it is a relatively low barrier material. PLA must be further processed or coated for use with liquids or products that require a higher MVTR (mositure vapor transition rate) barrier rating because uncoated PLA has a high water vapor permeability. The primary solution to these limitations is to coat the PLA layer with additional elements. The most common MVTR boosters are coatings are:

  • Aluminum Oxide
  • Silicon Oxide
  • PVDC

They are certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), petroleum-free and registered as USDA Bio-based Products. It is a cost-effective barrier that has been used for granola, candy, chips, cosmetics, jerky, pharmaceuticals, powders, and many other products.

Packaging that incorporates PLA bio-plastics has several unique features that makes it a great choice for food and consumer products companies.

  • 100% biodegradable – Your customer can throw away your packaging without guilt.
  • Made from plant based material, and renewable resources.
  • When polylactic acid is used as an inner barrier liner it is food safe and can be used with paper to create appealing packaging configurations.
  • Common applications of PLA packaging: coffee, pasta, cookies, and more.

Compostable Plastic Bag Advantages

  • Heat Sealable
  • Anaerobic diestable
  • Disallows that penetration of air
  • Resistant to grease and oil
  • Prolongs products lifespan

Compostable Plastic Bag Disadvantages.

  • Supply Chain issues, and availability.
  • Poor MVTR performance without additional coatings.
  • Shorter storage life than traditional barrier packaging
  • Generally good for packaging that will hold less than 13 pounds.
Custom Eco Friendly Packaging Biodegradable Plastic Bags

What can be bagged in compostable plastic bags

Compostable plastics have been approved for use in food, medical, and general industrial purposes.  The best uses are for low to moderate barrier dry good applications such as:

  • Cereals
  • Chips
  • Nuts
  • Granola
  • Pills
  • Powdered products
  • Coffee
  • Cannabis

Want to explore packaging your product in Compostable PLA? Contact Us to Discuss.

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