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What are bio based plastics?

Bio-derived (or bio-based) plastics are plastics derived from biomass or renewable sources, instead of fossil fuels. It’s preferred that bio-based products are made from waste materials, as opposed to raw materials, to prevent additional environmental stressors and land-use change.

One of the most popular bio-based plastics is polylactide (PLA), which is generally certified compostable; however, not all bio-based plastics are completely biodegradable or compostable, including bio-polyethylene (PE) and bio-polyamide (Nylon 11), which act similarly to petroleum-derived plastics.

There are some emerging bio-derived plastics, including polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), which show promising characteristics of being compostable and completely biodegradable, even in landfills and marine environments, but this technology is still in development, and certifications will clarify which standards this product meets.

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