Earth Friendly Biodegradable Packaging

Posted by Blair Kovacs on

oxo biodegradable packaging

Annanda Chaga has always been greatly concerned about the amount of plastics used in the food industry.  Chaga Mushrooms are no exception.  We have made the switch to more eco-friend packaging and packing material and eliminated our use of bubble wrap and other non-organic materials by 95%!  

What is oxo-biodegradable plastic?

Oxo-biodegradable plastic is made by blending a pro-degradent additive into the plastic during the extrusion process. The additive causes the molecular structure of plastic to break down when exposed to heat or sunlight. The plastic will eventually be in a state where it can be digested by microorganisms. At this point, the plastic will degrade at a faster rate until it has fully degraded into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass.

  • Oxo-biodegradable bags: 1 to 4 years 
  • Traditional plastic bags: 150 years

Oxo-biodegradable plastic, is often referred to as “degradable” plastic, since it does not require a biological process to degrade. Microorganisms will speed up the degradation process, but they’re not required. This gives oxo-biodegradation a distinct advantage over prior methods for degrading plastic.

The degradation time varies depending on the amount of exposure to degradation promoters (sunlight, heat, and microorganisms). This is an optimal situation for consumers. Oxo-biodegradable plastic degrades quickest in the exact situation we want it to: when it becomes litter. If the plastic is used properly it will last many years, but once it becomes litter it could degrade in under 12 months.

In a landfill oxo-biodegradable plastic will degrade quickly if oxygen is available to assist the degradation process. However, unlike other types of degradable plastic, oxo-biodegradable plastic will not release methane as it degrades. This is another advantage over prior forms of biodegradable plastic.

Benefits of oxo-biodegradable plastic

  • There is no difference in print quality, texture, or strength between regular and oxo-biodegradable plastic.
  • Oxo-biodegradable plastic has a long shelf-life. It will last for many years if stored indoors.
  • Oxo-biodegradable plastic is recyclable. Other forms of degradable plastic are not.
  • Oxo-biodegradable plastic will degrade in a landfill and the degradation process does not release methane.
  • Degradable plastic is an insurance policy against litter.

Questions about degradable plastic

What ingredients do you use to make degradable bags?

We use an oxo-biodegradable additive. The additive is blended into our plastic during the extrusion process.


Are oxo-biodegradable plastic bags recyclable?

Yes, oxo-biodegradable plastic bags are recyclable provided they have not degraded substantially.


What happens to oxo-biodegradable plastic in a landfill?

Microorganisms present in a landfill will aid in the degradation process provided sufficient oxygen is present.


Do oxo-biodegradable plastic bags contain cornstarch?

No, the oxo-biodegradable additive we use is a major advance over cornstarch based degradable additives.

Degradable plastic using cornstarch based additives possess many undesirable properties. Specifically, plastic incorporating cornstarch based additives cannot be recycled and contaminate the recycling process. They may also emit methane when degrading. Oxo-biodegradable plastics can be recycled along with regular plastic and do not emit methane.

Do oxo-biodegradable plastic bags feel different?

No, you will not notice a difference between oxo-biodegradable and regular plastic bags.


Are oxo-biodegradable bags as durable as regular plastic?

Yes, during their useful life oxo-biodegradable plastic bags are the same as regular plastic bags. You will not notice a difference until the bag has been exposed to UV light or heat for prolonged periods of time.


What is the shelf life for your degradable plastic bags?

It takes about 2 years of exposure to one or more degradation promoters (sunlight, heat, microorganisms) for our bags to degrade. If the bags are kept inside they will receive minimal or no exposure and will last much longer. It’s likely they will remain usable for 5+ years if stored inside. You can think of them like paper bags. You don’t see a paper bag degrade in your house, but when they become litter they degrade at a much faster rate.


Will oxo-biodegradation emit methane?

No, unlike other degradation processes oxo-biodegradation will not emit methane.


Why does it take 2 years for the bags to degrade?

Oxo-biodegradable plastic degrades due to exposure to the elements (sunlight, heat, and microorgranisms). Two years is an estimation based on the average conditions. The actual amount of time required to degrade a bag will be longer or shorter depending on the amount of exposure.

We believe this is an optimal situation. Oxo-biogradable plastic bags degrade fastest in the exact situation we want them to: when they become litter.