Plastics are durable and flexible materials for packaging. Their biggest advantage is that they are liquid-resistant. Traditional petroleum-based plastics, however, are non-biodegradable. Moreover, most of them cannot be recycled. As an ideal material for packaging, it is important to have more eco-friendly alternatives without sacrificing strength and durability. These bioplastics are as rigid as high-density polyethene although they are non-toxic and have faster decomposition.
Most of the packaging suppliers in the UK have options for packaging materials other than plastics. Paper and cloth are some of the most popular ones. The versatility of plastics, however, remains unmatched and their durability makes them an all-around solution.
Polylactic Acid (PLA) Polyesters
These are plastics processed from the lactic acid extracted from corn or sugar cane. These bioplastics are similar to traditional plastics in that they have high-strength, resistant to liquids and elastic. They are also biodegradable unlike most of the traditional plastics. Polyesters are known to break down rapidly.
These plastics are ideal for packaging food as they are non-toxic. They are also designed to be chemically resistant. Thermal plastics are highly recyclable, quickly breaking down when exposed to moisture or high temperatures. These types of bioplastics are also lightweight, durable and cost-efficient as they are easy to manufacture.
These plastics are made from polymers and additives. The additives have antimicrobials and antioxidants, which make them hygienic for packaging food. The additives also serve as reinforcements to make the material stronger and more durable. The natural polymers such as wool and cotton prevent the oxidation and discoloration of the contained materials. Additive-based plastics are also highly recyclable.
The variation in biodegradable materials to create bioplastics highlights the unrecognised flexibility of plastics overlooked for a long time. The fact that manufacturers are creating more of these plastic alternatives shows great promise for a healthier environment.