If your business mails printed literature, you have probably asked yourself: Can biodegradable poly mailing bags be kept in storage?
One of the solutions to increasing environmental concerns has been the development of degradable plastics.
Degradation occurs when large molecules become fragmented through the incorporation of oxygen. This can occur under exposure to air, moisture, heat from sunlight, or the simple passage of time. It may be that the plastic breaks up into smaller pieces, or that strong plastics become gradually weaker and more brittle before eventually collapsing under their own weight.
Either way, breaking into smaller pieces accelerates the process further by leaving a greater surface area on which the elements can work.
What does “biodegradable” mean?
When the degradation process is driven by microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi, the material can be rapidly broken down into biomass, carbon dioxide, and water. This is biodegradation.
The term biodegradable is one that’s heard a lot when talking about waste, however it’s not always applied correctly.
Natural degradation can occur over considerable periods of time, whilst biodegradation tends to be a more active process, whereby the microbes accelerate the degradation for their own nutritional needs.
What is biodegradable packaging?
This biodegradation process has been widely harnessed for dealing with packaging and waste. Starch from renewable sources – another good environmental practice – is used to produce polymers that biodegrade naturally.
Various starch-based additives can also be incorporated in more traditional hydrocarbon-based polythenes to introduce a bio element to their degradation process.
Whilst the idea behind biodegradable plastics is undoubtedly an attractive one that’s popular with the public, it leaves a major problem that has required industry to adapt in order to accommodate it.
The ability of modern biodegradable and degradable bags and films to break down over time presents industry with a significant problem: they break down over time! Yes, the advantages of such products quickly become disadvantages when storage for lengthy periods is required.
Can biodegradable poly mailing bags be kept in storage?
The short answer is: yes, biodegradable polythene mailing bags can be kept in storage.
Most starch-based poly products have a relatively short shelf life however, so it’s important to procure biodegradable mailing bags in small batches and use them quickly.
Shelf life can be curtailed further when exposed to warm, damp conditions where microbes thrive. This is not an insurmountable problem, but it does need a fresh approach to the logistics process in order to source packaging on a just-in-time basis.
How to extend the shelf life of biodegradable poly mailing bags
- Order in small batches
- Store in cool, dry conditions
- Clean stockrooms regularly and carefully
- Maintain good date rotation practices when using stock
- Remove and dispose of bags that have begun to biodegrade efficiently
Biodegradable products have become important for any waste that goes into landfill, as well as anything that’s unlikely to be reused.
Not only do these break down quickly, they also expose their contents to the environment, giving these the best opportunity to similarly degrade.
We’ve been thinking about these packaging problems for many years and take pride in the fact that we’re now a leading UK supplier of environmental mailing films that help your company save money and protect the environment. Our innovative eco-mailing films and poly mailing bags can reduce your carbon footprint as well as your tax burden.