Eco-Friendly Material Options at Fruth Plastics
capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. While everything that is compostable is biodegradable, not everything that is biodegradable is compostable. And just where do recycled material and oxo-degradable films fit in?
With the infrastructure still in its infancy, most compostable products purchased in the United States will end up in a landfill. Scientific American estimates that it takes 100 to 1,000 years for a compostable bottle made of Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) to break down in a landfill. Beyond that there are arguments on both sides of the issue, with studies to back the claims on both sides. Yes, it’s in a landfill, but it’s better for the environment because compostable products are made using renewable resources. Conversely, PLA creates methane in landfills, a greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, negatively impacting the environment.
It always reverts to a chicken vs. egg debate. Which comes first? Should we purchase all things compostable in the hope that demand will help drive initiative to build the composting infrastructure in the U.S. necessary to process compostable material? Do we get the proper infrastructure in place so that once demand is there for compostable products, we have a means to process it? Who will fund that? This is one of the issues that has slowed the adoption of compostable products. Bioplastics are certainly the material of the future, but for now, if we all practice responsible plastic-ing, it could go a long way towards helping the environment.
So what does Fruth Custom Plastics offer, to those wishing to lower their carbon footprint, and what are the benefits of the different options?
Recycled Content Film
In 2017 Fruth Plastics installed two reprocessing units, which has allowed us to manufacture 100% recycled, FDA Approved resin. Our recycled content fill can be made with any percentage, up to 100% recycled content LDPE resin. This helps reduce carbon footprint by diverting plastic from landfill. By the end of 2020, Fruth Custom Plastics will have diverted over one million pounds of plastic from landfill for the year.
While often confused with biodegradable plastics, oxo-degradables are neither a bioplastic nor a biodegradable plastic, but rather a conventional plastic mixed with an additive to imitate biodegradation. Fruth Plastics offers both a Bio-Additive and Bio-Based Film. Bio films have a percentage of bio-based material, usually in the form of PLA, embedded into the product. While the bio-based additives (and film) do not make these products compostable, effective biodegradable additives expedite the rate of degradation.
Some may not realize, but most of the compostable products sold in the U.S. are only compostable at a commercial composting facility. Materials certified according to ASTM D6400 or EN 13432 (like the Fruth Plastics Compostable PLA film) will disintegrate within 12 weeks and biodegrade at least 90% within 180 days in a municipal or industrial composting facility. In addition to commercially compostable film, Fruth Plastics offers packaging that is home compostable, as well as material that breaks down in the marine environment. Our compostable material meets FDA regulations for food packaging.
Water Soluble Film
This film is made of a highly water-soluble paper useful in many pouching applications, with its water-soluble design and heat seal coating. This material dissolves easily and completely in any water temperature. It is environmentally sustainable, FDA approved for indirect food contact, and has excellent print characteristics.