The Difference Between Biodegradable Plastic and Non-Biodegradable Plastic

biodegradable plastic buried underneath soil

From cosmetic and food packaging to medical and automotive packaging, plastic has played an integral role for years. It’s reliable, cost-effective, it’s protective, but it’s also a detriment to the environment. As a result, many consumers demand sustainable packaging solutions to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on our world, like biodegradable plastics. 

For over 35 years, Pioneer Packaging has been the industry leader in innovative packaging solutions. We’re proud of our work towards a more sustainable future and always look to enhance our packaging capabilities. Please read our article below to learn more about the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable plastic.

What is Non-Biodegradable Plastic?

It’s essentially exactly how it sounds. It’s a packaging solution that is not biodegradable and is entirely composed of plastics. It’s a synthetic material whose end-of-life allocation brought incredible challenges for waste management professionals, governments, and policymakers. 

According to UNEP, the world produces more than 300 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. That’s the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population. Instead of breaking down, they break up into smaller pieces until they eventually become microplastics. These micro-fragments are hard to detect and even harder to get rid of. What’s worse, they plague our ecosystems, end up being eaten by wildlife, and can even find their way into our bodies

While many businesses probably will never completely shed plastic solutions from their packaging operations, it’s important to establish programs and protocols to bring awareness to innovative plastic disposal. It’s also critical that businesses begin to consider adopting some sustainable solutions to their packaging and their entire operations. 

What is Biodegradable Plastic?

One of those sustainable solutions is incorporating biodegradable plastic into your packaging. This sustainable packaging is made from traditional petrochemicals, which are engineered to break down faster and more efficiently than single-use packaging. In addition, biodegradable packaging contains additives that cause them to degrade more rapidly when they’re exposed to light, oxygen, moisture, and heat. However, unlike bioplastics, they generally aren’t compostable

It’s important to understand that despite their rapid degradation rate, they’re still plastic. It still takes time to decay, and it must interact with certain elements to begin the process. If they are proven to biodegrade in the soil, they will leave less pollution behind. But, wind and animals carry the way into the air, rivers, and oceans to places where they might not be able to degrade. Additionally, there’s still potential for chemicals to pollute the soil ecosystem once decayed. 

Which is Better for the Environment?

While biodegradable plastic still has its setbacks, they are more efficient when it comes to sustainability. The material degrades much faster than its traditional counterparts, and while it isn’t compostable, it can still be recycled. If you’re looking to rid yourself of plastic entirely, you may consider many other sustainable alternatives

Adopt Biodegradable Plastic and Other Solutions with Pioneer Packaging

When you work with Pioneer Packaging, you’re not only getting quality solutions – you’re gaining a partner. We strive to provide the best possible services to ensure your business moves forward and that you experience incredible ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help you transition your traditional packaging to be more sustainable.

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