What Are the Biodegradable Materials That Are Becoming the New Favorites?

Apr 27, 2023

In recent years, we often hear or see items and topics containing the words "degradable tableware", "degradable packaging bags", "degradable packaging boxes", etc. With the continuous popularity of environmental protection and the serious harm caused by disposable tableware to the environment, the use of degradable materials is becoming more and more widespread, gradually involving all aspects of life. Do you know which degradable environmentally friendly food packaging materials can replace plastic?

Definition of degradable environmentally friendly food packaging materials

Degradable environmentally friendly food packaging materials are materials that can be degraded in a thermodynamic and kinetic sense within a certain period of time. According to the external factors of degradation, they can be divided into: photodegradable materials, biodegradable materials and so on. In a popular sense, they refer to materials that can be degraded through sunlight degradation, biodegradation, and natural degradation in the natural environment, without causing harm to the environment, and the substances produced by degradation can also be absorbed by the environment.

Specific classification of degradable environmentally friendly food packaging materials

Photodegradable materials

Refers to materials that can degrade under the action of light, obtained through chemical synthesis or the addition of photosensitizers. This material avoids the environmental pollution caused by plastic incineration, but the effect of light as the main element of degradation has a significant impact on the degradation effect. If it is buried in the soil, it will not achieve the expected degradation due to the lack of light. Currently, it is mainly used in packaging materials and agricultural films.

Biodegradable materials

This is currently the most widely used type of material on the market, with a large number of varieties, mainly including polylactic acid (PLA), poly-3-hydroxybutyrate acid ester (PHA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and other materials. The biodegradable lunch boxes made by combining PLA composite film with pulp molded tableware are generally made of natural plant fibers, and can form carbon dioxide and water under the action of microorganisms in the natural environment for a period of time. These microorganisms usually include bacteria, fungi, algae, and so on. Even if dumped in the soil, the lunch box made of this environmentally friendly food packaging material can also degrade under the action of microorganisms. The biggest difference from plastic is that it can be bioregenerated and the material can be recycled, without causing pollution to land creatures, marine creatures, and other environments, and reducing soil damage. It has achieved great success in food packaging, medical packaging, and industrial packaging.

Environmentally degradable materials

Degrade under the action of natural environmental conditions such as light, thermal pollution compounds, microorganisms, insects and mechanical force. These environmentally friendly food packaging materials generally include natural plants and some artificially synthesized materials. Currently, fully degradable materials are very common in daily life, such as thermal plastic biodegradable plastics (PBAT), polylactic acid (PLA), and polyhydroxy fatty acid esters (PHA), and so on.