Introduction For Eco-Friendly Products

1Biodegradable Pouches (Flexible Packaging Bags & Pouches)

 

What is a biodegradable pouch?

A biodegradable and compostable pouch is a pouch that can be broken down naturally by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. The process is sped up by temperature and   humidity. In biodegradation, organic chemicals in the packaging are converted to simpler  compounds via the elemental cycles like the carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur cycles.

Biodegradable pouch packaging is eco-friendly, preventing plastic waste.

What types of materials can be used in biodegradable pouches?

Materials that biodegrade well and are great for manufacturing pouches include Kraft paper,      sugarcane or bagasse, starch, wood pulp, potato pulp, cotton, bioplastic, PE, PP, palm leaf, and more.

These are natural materials that are easy to biodegrade.

What conditions do biodegradable pouches need to make the pouch biodegrade?

Each environment contains different microorganisms and has different conditions for biodegradation.

Usually, to be able to work effectively, most microorganisms that carry out the biodegradation process need light, water and oxygen. Temperature is also an important factor in the rate of  biodegradation—warmth speeds it up, while coldness slows it down.

What is the biodegradation process?

Biodegradation of packaging largely consists of chemical processes carried out by enzymes that bacteria and fungi secrete.

The process of biodegradation can be divided into three stages:

  1.   Biodeterioration
  2. 2.   Biofragmentation
  3. 3.   Assimilation

Biodeterioration is a surface-level degradation that modifies the mechanical, physical and      chemical properties of the material by weakening its structure. For example, this deterioration may include cutting up the material, pressure, light, temperature, and chemicals in the            environment that break the biodegradable pouch into pieces or make it softer.

Biofragmentation is when microorganisms start breaking up the chemical structure of a material. If there is oxygen available, microorganisms use aerobic digestion.

 

If no oxygen is available, anaerobic digestion happens. Anaerobic reactions produce methane, while aerobic reactions do not. However, both produce carbon dioxide, water, some type of      residue, and a new biomass. Aerobic digestion is faster, while anaerobic is more thorough.

In the assimilation stage, the resulting products from biofragmentation are then integrated into microbial cells. In other words, microorganisms ate the discarded pouches!

 

What will happen after biodegradable  pouch biodegrades?

Biodegradable packaging pouches are transformed into carbon dioxide, water, mineralized   inorganic salts, and new biomass. These compounds are absorbed into microorganisms that use it as food.

Essentially, your pouch will be integrated into the soil.

How many types of biodegradable pouch products are there on the market?

There are hundreds of types of biodegradable pouches on the market. The type depends on the specific material used, the style of the pouch (stand up, flat bottom, gusseted, etc), and what will the pouch contain.

If the pouch is meant for food, there may be an additional special layer safe for food contact.

What are the regulations and testing standards for biodegradable pouches in the US and the EU?

In the US, biodegradable stand-up pouches are tested via the ASTM D6400 protocols and        criteria. The ASTM is the American Society for Testing and Materials. D6400 is the Standard     Specification for the Labeling of Plastics Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or

Industrial Facilities.

This standard provides a timeframe during which biodegradation must occur: 180 days. Furthermore, by the end of the process, the final product must not harm the surrounding ecosystem (ie: is non-toxic).

 

A similar standard ASTM D6868 refers to the biodegradability of plastic films or coatings attached to the packaging.

Also, all food-packaging clearances require an Environmental Assessment (EA), followed by a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and clearance by the FDA in the US.

The equivalent standard in Europe and other parts of the world is EN 13432—”packaging: requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation”— , which specifies the same timelines and results.

Specifically, it also requires that at least 90% of the organic material is converted into carbon dioxide within 6 months.

Some other regulations include EN 14995 and ISO 17088.

Marine biodegradability is regulated by ASTM D6691, OECD 306, and ISO 16221.

 

As for testing, in aerobic environments, the biodegradability is usually determined by measuring oxygen demand in a closed respirometer, or the amount of carbon dioxide released over time. In anaerobic conditions, the measurement of released biogas (methane and carbon dioxide) is       used to measure biodegradability.

Biodegradability tests can be performed under “certification” or “screening” conditions. There are OECD, ASTM, and ISO biodegradability tests.

What certifications are needed for biodegradable stand-up pouches?

In order to be labeled as “industrially compostable” or “commercially compostable,” there are certain tests and certifications to pass.

In the US, certificates can be issued by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) and FDA.

In Europe independent certificates for biodegradable packaging are issued by DIN Certco, TUV, and Vincotte. These certificates signify biodegradability in soil and in water.

Some international certifications can be issued by ISO, NSF, EPA, REACH, and ASTM.

 

 

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2Compostable Pouches (Flexible Packaging Bags & Pouches)

What is a compostable pouch (Flexible Packaging Bags & Pouches)?

Compostable is used to describe a product that can disintegrate into non-toxic, natural elements. Compostable products are typically better than biodegradable ones because compostable materials have the ability to turn into nutrient-rich soil.

 

Therefore, a compostable pouch is packaging that can be broken down and turned into rich compost for the soil.

What types of materials can be used in compostable pouches?

Compostable and biodegradable materials are not too different from each other. Some               compostable packaging materials include PLA, wheat straw fiber, recycled paper, tPLA & CPLA, bagasse or sugarcane fiber, cellulose, bamboo, and more.

What conditions do compostable pouches need to make it compost?

There are seven main compost requirements needed for packaging to properly decompose:

  •    Compostsize
  •    Air
  •   Moisture
  • Fragmentsize
  • Greenmatter
  •    Drymatter
  • Heat

Biodegradability requires less conditions, but the extra conditions ensure that the compost is rich.

What is the process of creating compost?

During composting, microorganisms from the soil eat the organic packaging and break it down into its simplest parts, producing a fiber-rich, carbon-containing humus with inorganic nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

The microorganisms carry out aerobic or anaerobic respiration, giving off carbon dioxide and heat — temperatures within compost piles can rise as high as 100 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit (38 to 66 C).

The composting process goes through three major phases.

In the mesophilic phase, the decomposition is carried out under moderate temperatures by mesophilic microorganisms.

As the temperature rises, the thermophilic phase starts, in which various thermophilic bacteria carry out the decomposition under higher temperatures.

As the high-energy compounds are used up, the temperature starts to decrease, and the mesophilic bacteria once again predominate in the maturation phase.

What will happen after compostable stand up pouch compost?

The compostable stand-up pouch will be disintegrated and turned into nutrient-rich biomass that can later be used as a non-toxic fertilizer.

 

What is the difference between home-     compostable and industrialcompostable packaging?

Home composting produces a nutrient-rich soil as a result of the breakdown of organic waste such as    food scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and tea bags. Home composting occurs at a much lower               temperature and over a longer period of time than   industrial composting.

Packaging labeled as home compostable means that it can be placed in the home compost bin along with  fruit and vegetables–all decomposing into organic     soil.

On the other hand, commercial and industrial

composts can break down more dense materials like bioplastics that require higher temperatures, intense aeration, and more rigorous processing.

What are the regulations and test standards in the US and EU?

Testing standards and regulations for compostable packaging in the US and EU are the same as the regulations for biodegradable packaging.

However, some more specific standards include:

 

  •  ASTMD5338
  •   ISO 14855

For home composting, there are AS 5810, NF T 51800, and prEN 17427. Industrial composting is governed by the same regulations as biodegradable standards are.

What are the certifications for a compostable pouch?

Compostable stand-up pouches can be certified by the same organizations that certify biodegradable packaging. The certifications are the same.

 

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3Recyclable Pouches (Flexible Packaging Bags & Pouches)

What is a recyclable pouch (Flexible Packaging Bags & Pouches)?

Recyclable pouches are made from material that can be recycled and used again to manufacture new products.

What material types can be used to manufacture recyclable pouches?

 

The following materials can be recycled and used to manufacture pouches:

  •    LaminatedKraftpaper
  •    Paper
  • HDPE
  •   LDPE
  • PP
  • PE

How to tell if a pouch is recycled?

Recyclable pouches have green recyclable symbols on them. Also, hard plastics are usually recyclable, while flexible plastics are less commonly recycled.

It is also possible to manufacture pouches from recycled plastics, like PCR pouch, which will also have special markings on them. Look out for either green or colorless symbols.

What is the recycling procedure?

The regular recycling procedure involves collecting the materials, sorting them into types, such as paper and plastic, cleaning, shredding, and reorganizing the material to make either new     material or manufacture a product.

Because pouches are often made using different types of paper and plastic, we will delve into those.

At a recycling facility, paper is washed with soapy water to remove inks, plastic film, staples and glue. The remaining mixture is then mixed with water to create a slurry. Adding different             materials to the paper slurry can create various products made from the recycled paper,            including cardboard, kraft paper, etc.

When plastic is recycled, it is sorted into different types and colors. Then, it is filtered and sifted to remove contaminants. After, the plastic is chopped and melted into pellets or fibers, which in turn, can be melted again or extruded to create various products.

What will happen after a recyclable pouch is recycled?

After the recycling procedure is complete, the pouch (either as paper slurry or plastic pellets) is made into a new           product, or even new packaging!

Essentially, recycled pouches become raw material for new products, which could have new features and properties.

What is the difference between the symbols R2 、R4

R5 、R7?

The recycling symbols indicate the type of material. This

 

way, it is easier to sort the plastics and recycle them using the right technique. Many plastic types cannot be mixed together, so the symbols maintain order.

  • R2: HDPEmaterial found in milk and juice boxes; hard and opaque
  •    R4: LDPEmaterialfound in shopping bags; flexible
  • R5: PPmaterial found in straws and caps
  • R7: otherhard, clear materials found in nylon; not recyclable

What is the most commonly used symbol in recyclable pouches?

Most commonly, recyclable pouches are made from HDPE (R2),   LDPE (R4) ,  PP(R5) ,and Others(R7).

Can you deeply explain R2 R4, R5, and R7?

The term PP stands for polypropylene, while the term HDPE and LDPE stands for low density  polyethylene. Both are used to manufacture recyclable pouches, and both are known to pass    food-contact safety standards. The key difference between PP and HDPE, LDPE is that PP is a clear material, whereas HDPE,LDPE is either translucent or opaque.

R7 describes miscellaneous materials, such as 2 or 3 layer laminated material, which are often not used to manufacture recyclable stand-up pouches.

What are the regulations and testing standards for recyclable packaging in the US and

EU?

So far, not many regulations exist around the recyclability of packaging. However, we can discuss a few things.

The European packaging and packaging waste directive (PPWD) 94/62/EC (1994) was      reinforced with new targets in 2018. The directive lays out a target of recycling 50% of all   plastic, forcing businesses to use recyclable packaging and packaging made from recycled content, which is more heavily regulated.

Another EU regulation, EN13430 involves verifying product recyclability via two criteria:

  1.   Mass Composition: thepackagingmust consist of at least 50% in paper-cardboard by weight.
  2.   SuitabilityforRecycling:

 

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Defibering/repulpability: verifying that the product disintegrates                     Elimination of unwanted materials using a triple screening stage. Unwanted materials include fibre bundles, flakes, lamination films, etc

Final quality of the pulps and papers produced using an adhesion test

 

In the US, FDA overlooks recyclable packaging, such as stand-up pouches. Also, the APR has developed a variety of ASTM-based laboratory test methods to assess the impact of a plastic  design feature or component on recycling.

 

 

The objective of testing is to determine the impact of a design feature on the processability of a package item.

As for regulations on recycled content, FDA, FSC, SFI, EPA, and REACH.

What are some certifications necessary for recyclable pouches?

In Europe, the ecolabel is common. Ecolabels are marks placed on product packaging or in e- catalogs that show that products meet specific environmental performance criteria and are      therefore deemed “environmentally preferable” .

In the US, if your material of choice is paper-based, then a FSC certification might be important.

Other typical recyclable certifications include the Green Seal, UL ECOLOGO® and the EPA’s Safer Choice program. These international third party certifications have the best reputation.

 

 

 

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What is the difference between sustainable packaging: Biodegradable, Compostable, and Recyclable?

Recyclable stand-up pouches can be remade into the same product or a different one. Plastic materials are commonly recycled into a product of lower quality, and flexible plastics are rarely recycled at all.

The process is expensive and sometimes ineffective.

Biodegradable and compostable sustainable packaging is very similar, but composting enriches the soil and takes less time than biodegrading does. However, composting involves some          intricate steps, but it can be carried out in residential homes.

Both use bacteria and fungi to disintegrate material and turn it into soil—via both aerobic and anaerobic respiration.

 

Which one of the above is the more eco-friendly packaging? Why?

Corrugated cardboard and paper-based packaging tends to be the most environmentally-       friendly because it can be biodegraded, composted, and recycled, allowing for a wide array of options.

Among recycling, composting, and biodegrading, compostable stand-up pouches are the best choice.

 

Recycling produces lower-quality materials, and recycling can be expensive and difficult             sometimes. Plus, many recyclable types of packaging end up in the landfills. Biodegradable and compostable stand-up pouches decrease the volume of waste in landfills.

While biodegradable packaging breaks down and decomposes in the environment, compostable stand-up pouches consist of organic material, which breaks down into nutrient-rich biomass. At  the end of composting, something that was once a stand-up pouch could become a fertilizer       improving soil health.

Which one is most trending now?

Currently, recyclable and compostable packaging is trending because many are questioning biodegrading.

Also, recycling and composting creates a visible benefit from the process, while biodegrading just gets rid of waste, instead of transforming it into something better.

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