Of the over six billion tonnes of plastic waste produced since the 1950s, only nine percent has been recycled, and another 12 percent incinerated. The rest has been dumped in landfills or on the natural environment. It’s a startling statistic, and one that has 90 percent of Europeans very concerned. In fact, they are five times more concerned about plastic’s impact on the environment than they are about the fuel efficiency of the cars they buy.
More and more consumers are growing very tired of products wrapped in layer upon layer of plastic packaging – which is why the plastic-free aisle recently unveiled in an Amsterdam supermarket is being so enthusiastically welcomed. The aisle is a world first, and has been set up in the pilot store of Ekoplaza, a supermarket chain. The aisle features over 700 products, including meat, fruit, vegetables, rice, cereals and chocolate, among others.
The aisle is the brainchild of environmental campaign group A Plastic Planet. Co-founder Sian Sutherland says, “There is absolutely no logic in wrapping something as fleeting as food in something as indestructible as plastic. Plastic food and drink packaging remain useful for a matter of days, yet remains a destructive presence on the earth for centuries afterwards.”
The plastic-free aisle will be used to test out new compostable bio-materials, and will also feature traditional materials including glass, metal and cardboard.
But what do we mean when we talk about compostable materials? Are compostable and bio-degradable products the same thing? When it comes to plastic, the answer is definitely, “no.” All compostable plastic is biodegradable, but not all biodegradable plastic is compostable. The differences between the two can be quite confusing, but essentially, biodegradable plastic is designed to break down in water or soil, while compostable plastic refers to materials that biodegrade, in certain circumstances, into substances that actually condition the soil. Before a plastic can be commercially labelled as compostable, it must be able to be broken down, by biological treatment, at an industrial or commercial composting facility. It’s not advisable to try to compost plastic at home, as it needs higher temperatures and different breakdown conditions than those typically found in most domestic composting.
Perfotec’s polymeric modified atmosphere packaging film is compostable, and can also be recycled. Mapflex is the proud supplier of Perfotec MAP products in South Africa. If you’d like to know more about this amazing product, please contact us today.