Most frequently asked questions answered.
- What are (oxo) degradable/biodegradable bags?
Degradable bags are made from plastic with other chemicals added (including heavy metals) that cause the plastic to break down and disintegrate over time when exposed to sunlight and heat. If degradable bags are released into our environment, they become quite problematic as they break down into hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic. Animals can consume the smaller pieces of plastic more readily than they would if the bags were still whole. It is also much more difficult to remove hundreds of tiny pieces of plastic from the environment than it is to remove a single bag. These bags are sometimes labelled as biodegradable.
- What are compostable bags?
Compostable bags are made of natural plant starch (Biobased extracts) , and do not produce any toxic material. Compostable bags break down readily in a composting system through microbial activity to form compost. To be classified as compostable they must meet the testing standard for compostability.
- What is PLA and PBAT?
Polylactic acid (PLA), also known as poly (lactic acid) , lactic acid or polylactide (PLA), is a thermoplastic polyester. The monomer is typically made from fermented plant starch such as from corn, cassava, sugarcane, or sugar beet pulp.
Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) is made from petrochemicals. Ironically, it is PBAT that increases the rate of biodegradation in order for the film to meet compost certification criteria.
- Do the compostable bags break down into micro plastics?
These bags do not contain the conventionally used synthetic plastics like PP, PE, PET, PVC etc to begin with, so no they do not break down into micro-plastic particles.
- How does composting work?
Composting is a process that breaks down organic matter using fungi, bacteria, insects, worms, and other organisms to create a nutrient-dense ‘compost’. This compost can then be used as a powerful fertilizer and soil conditioner.
- What is Industrial composting vs home composting?
Both forms of composting create a nutrient-rich compost at the end of the process. Industrial composting can sustain the temperature and stability of the compost more rigorously.
Home composting produces a nutrient-rich soil because of the breakdown of organic waste such as food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and tea bags. This occurs over a period of months normally in a backyard compost barrel, or a home compost bin. The temperature, oxygen circulation etc are not controlled and when the ‘Thune’ bags are disposed in them, it can take anywhere between 3 months to 12 months for the bags to completely compost in this setting.
That’s where we turn to industrial composting – a multi-step, closely monitored composting process with measured inputs of water, air, as well as carbon and nitrogen-rich materials. There are many types of commercial composting – they all optimize each step of the decomposition process, by controlling condition like shredding material to the same size or controlling the temperature and oxygen levels. These measures ensure rapid biodegradation of the organic material to high quality, toxic-free compost. When the bags disposed in this setting, they will compost in 90 days.
- When will industry composting facilities be developed in tier 2 or tier 3 cities?
The increased use of compostable materials creates market demand that will lead to the development of important composting infrastructure throughout the country.
- Since it is difficult for us to industrially compost many of the products how is this better than using plastic films?
Using compostable bags reduces reliance on fossil fuels and increases the use of renewable plant-based materials. You are also reducing the usage of petro-based products in the single use disposable stream thereby your carbon footprint.
- Do these bags react to the atmosphere? How do we store them?
The quality and structural integrity of the film is impacted by extremely high temperature and high humidity environments. They last longer if stored in room temperature conditions without exposure to high temperature and high humidity.
- How is current composting scenario for bioplastics?
Despite the exciting opportunity compostable films represent to develop a productive circular economy, currently rates of composting are low due to developing infrastructure.
If you have ay other questions or concerns, email us or call us.