BIOPLASTIC - IT´S COMPLICATED
Bio plastic is new technology, and as such we feel that there is some confusion surrounding it. In order to fully understand what bioplastics are, and to envision the global change they will make, we must first get down to the basics. Bioplastic is an umbrella term used for plastics that are biobased, biodegradable or both. The confusion arises within these definitions.
Biobased plastics have a unique advantage over conventional petroleum based plastic in the sense that the composition is made fully, or in part, from plants or other biological matter. Biodegradable plastics can also be partly or fully made from plants or other biological matter BUT can also be fossil based. The advantage with Biodegradable plastics is the materials potential to break down in certain enviroment such as a compost. HOWEVER this compost must in the majority of cases be an INDUSTRIAL Compost.
A game changing difference becomes apparent at the point of disposal - the materials end of life cycle.
(LIGHT MY FIRE DO NOT USE)
Biodegradable is a term we are all familiar with. It is a word we connect with images of natural waste simply disappearing over time or with green waste in a compost heap at the bottom of the garden. Unfortunately there is a complication. Biodegradable plastic is compostable, meaning that the product has the ability to break down relatively quickly. The catch is that with the current level of technology, this composting must usually occur in an industrial complex capable of putting the plastic through a particular process.
In other words biodegradable plastic doesn’t necessarily mean that it could be thrown away with the expectation that it will simply rot and disappear. Home composting of green waste, is very different to the industrial process where specific levels of heat and moisture encourage microbial activity that converts the plastic into organic matter.
Materials that are certified compostable will mostly have been tested in these commercial composting conditions, so it is unlikely that the same chemistry based process can be achieved in a home composting heap. For example, a biodegradable plastic material may break down within weeks in a commercial composting facility, yet the same material may take decades if it were to find its way into nature. This is why we should be wary of this ‘biodegradable’ term when associated with plastics. Further biodegradable plastics can be made fully, or in part of fossil OR biological matter.
The technology surrounding biobased plastic is different. The composition is made fully, or in part, from plants or other biological matter depending on the properties required for the different products.
With this in mind, Light My Fire has chosen to use biobased plastic for our products. In using renewable organic matter we engage in a regenerative cycle that is not only sustainable but an excellent substitute to fossil fuel dependency. The plants growth cycles naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere suggesting that a global change to biobased plastics would be equal to stopping millions of tons of CO2 emissions every year.
We are on a journey toward 100% natural materials with processes and technologies aligned to that goal. In time this will lead to a truly sustainable natural product with all the benefits of plastic and none of the negatives. Every step toward this goal is a step towards a brighter future for us all.
OUR BIOBASED PLASTICS
To meet the usage requirements of our products, Light My Fire currently use 3 specific types of biobased plastic. These contain the highest possible biomass percentage.
TERRALENE: Made from certified sugarcane and wood fiber waste from certified European wood that adds strength to the product as well as a wonderful texture and natural smell.
ECOZEN: Made from European GMO free corn. This provides strength and heat resistance.
DRYFLEX GREEN: Made from certified sugarcane in two different densitites for strength and hardness.