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Biodegradable Packing Products: How Do They Work And Is Quality Compromised?

Feb 28, 2008
How do biodegradable packing products compare to those made of plastic? Do they compromise the protection of the item within the package? How do they work? First of all, they do not compromise the protection aspect. They are just as effective as many of the plastic products used to ship items. The difference is that they will degrade or disintegrate over time rather than be released somewhere in the environment to remain for months or years at a time. Such waste can put habitats at risk and puts the environment at risk as well. With biodegradable packing products, they will dissolve over time and not have a negative impact on animal habitats and the environment.

As far as how they work, biodegradable packing is plant-based, which means they are made up of renewable resources. They are created from nature, which means they decompose completely within weeks or months. This works well if the material ends up in the environment or if the biodegradable materials are placed within a composting area.

However, the use of biodegradable materials is growing in popularity due to the fact more and more people are becoming involved with living a greener lifestyle. They are free of plastic coatings, harmful chemicals, do not need an incredible amount of energy to create them, and they do not use any tree resources at all. Many of these biodegradable packing materials are produced outside of Blair, Nebraska , which uses polyactic acid that is commonly referred to as resin. The company called NatureWorks, uses corn to produce the resin and they state that their product is made from 100% renewable resources that are renewed on an annual basis. In this case, the resource is corn and corn can easily be grown from year-to-year. This makes their polymer the first to show a verifiable reduction in the amount of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere.

Certain items such as non-biodegradable packing peanuts and bubble wrap cannot do this and many times end up in landfills. Sometimes, these materials escape the trash and end up in bird's nests, which can be hazardous to the little ones and may even end up in water habitats. Animals can become entangled in such materials as bubble wrap and can choke on packing peanuts. That is why it is important to employ the use of biodegradable packing products to prevent such travesties from happening.

As for the amount of garbage saved, the whole picture is rather overwhelming. Think about 1,000 tons of biodegradable waste. Now just imagine 1,000 tons of non-biodegradable waste. In a matter of weeks or months, that 1,000 tons of biodegradable waste will be gone, but the non-biodegradable waste will be hanging around for an unspecified amount of time. That means that 100% of biodegradable waste is waste

There is over 100,000 tons of packing material used each year to ship products all over the world. If all packing materials were made of biodegradable packing materials, then that would be 100,000 tons of waste that would not exist. In a matter of weeks or months, that waste would be completely gone. To imagine that much waste absent from a landfill is hard to imagine.

So with this said, it is fair to say that the amount of garbage saved by biodegradable packing materials is quite significant and with the growing popularity of biodegradable materials, we should expect to see less packing materials such as bubble wrap, non-biodegradable packing peanuts, and other plastic packing materials in the landfills. Instead, we will see our boxes filled with biodegradable packing materials that will in no way compromise the safety of the item or items inside.
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