Biodegradable Packaging: What It Is & How To Find It - Priory Direct

Biodegradable Packaging: What It Is & How To Find It

By Lauren Churcher  |  18 March 2020  |   4 minute read.
Eco Friendly

Reducing packaging waste is a top priority on the to-do list for nearly every business around the world. Biodegradable packaging can be an excellent solution for doing this as it delivers even better results for the planet and those making a conscious effort to reduce not only their environmental impact, but the impact their business and packaging choices have too.

What does Biodegradable mean?

First things first, there’s a lot of confusion about what ‘biodegradable’ actually means, how ‘compostable’ comes into the mix, and if ‘degradable’ actually counts for anything. So, we’ve scoured the depths of accreditation’s, definitions, and manufacturer guidelines to give you the definitive answer you’ve been waiting for:

Officially, biodegradable materials are “capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution.” The rate of biodegradation is entirely dependent on the materials, but however long it takes, it will break down by natural means, unlike ‘degradable’ materials. Technically, everything is ‘degradable’, even you and I. In a nutshell, degradable materials will break down eventually, at some point; be it 20 years or 20,000 years. ‘Compostable’ material goes one further by reducing to only carbon dioxide, water, and biomass when mixed with micro-organisms in a highly humid, high temperature, composting environment. This essentially means it does exactly the same as biodegradable products, but goes further by giving back to and helping the planet too.

More recently, with the fight against plastic continuing to gain ground, ‘oxo-biodegradable’ material demand has grown massively as the chemical structure of most plastics renders them degradation resistant. Oxo-biodegradable products have a metallic additive that sets off a slow chemical reaction in the presence of oxygen and sunlight. But, oxo-biodegradable plastics will break down into microplastics, which are worse for the environment as they can’t be recycled at all. 

So, long story short, biodegradable materials will breakdown naturally due to the make-up of the product, whereas oxo-biodegradable products have elements added to the material to make them breakdown.

Got that? Good.

Choosing biodegradable packaging is easier than you may realise and a few simple swaps can help to significantly minimise the environmental impact of both your business, and all of your customers too – here are our top picks:

Book Wraps

Secure, robust, and eco-friendly can be hard to come by in the world of packaging. Cardboard book wraps provide a fantastic sustainable packaging solution which not only consistently deliver excellent protection, but are widely recognised by your customers as easily recyclable and biodegradable materials – win win! Easily adjustable to the exact depth of whatever you’re packing to ensure a super snug fit and eliminating the need for extra packaging for void fill, cardboard book wraps are a versatile packaging option which works for millions of businesses; protective of your goods, and the environment too.

ColomPac Book Wraps

Top Tip – Cardboard

If you’re going for biodegradable, look no further than cardboard packaging. In any and every form, cardboard is the very best option for a guaranteed biodegradable and recyclable solution for despatching or storing your goods.

Jiffy Green Padded Bags

Jiffy Green

Jiffy Green Padded Envelopes provide an excellent solution for eco-friendly eCommerce. Instead of a plastic bubble wrap interior synonymous with classic padded envelopes, Jiffy Green padded bags are made entirely from paper with a 100% recycled fibre lining – designed to deliver the very best protection to your goods whilst keeping eco-friendly as a priority. Not just simple to recycle, but easily biodegradable and even compostable too, swapping to Jiffy Green envelopes are an eco-friendly focused packaging solution which will dramatically reduce your environmental impact.

Packing Peanuts

If your despatches need a little extra protection and polystyrene packing peanuts are your go-to, why not try a super eco-friendly swap to starch based packing chips? Offering a better level of protection than polystyrene peanuts due to a higher rate of compression, starch-based packing peanuts are also dramatically better for the environment; reusable, biodegradable, and even compostable, compared to the 500 years -forever timescale for degradation on polystyrene equivalents! An incredibly easy and straightforward eco-friendly swap which is guaranteed to reduce packaging waste and the environmental impact of both your business and all of your customers too.

Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
Biodegradable Document Enclosed Wallets

Document Enclosed Wallets

So, you use an eco-friendly cardboard packaging solution for your despatches, paper for your invoices, and then a planet-damaging plastic document enclosed wallet to attach them together. Don’t let your hard work go to waste by ruining your packages with unnecessary additional plastic, swap to a biodegradable document enclosed wallet; all of the same qualities as the standard equivalents, the biodegradable option is made from an oxo-biodegradable polythene. A secure and visible way to hold your documents to the outside of your consignments but without the long-lasting environmental damage.

These are just four of the biodegradable packaging solutions available to you, so don’t worry if you haven’t seen one here which is right for your business. Take a look at all of our biodegradable products below:

Ask The Experts

By educating and informing business owners and working together to swap to biodegradable products, we’re paving the way to a greener future for us all. We hope this has given you all the information you could need to know about the importance of swapping to a biodegradable packaging solution, and probably a little bit more too. We pride ourselves on our service and sharing our knowledge wherever possible, so if you have any questions then please speak to us on live chat, give us a call on 01622 580100, or use our Contact page.

eCommerce operations are our speciality and we can advise on all aspects of despatch to assist you in perfecting your process, so please get in touch – we’ll be happy to help.

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