Glossary

Learn important terms used to classify and describe the difference between different types of plastic or other disposable products that are compostable vs. biodegradable.

Eco-Friendly Terms

Biodegradable  

A product that is biodegradable can be naturally broken down by microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi, and absorbed back into the ecosystem. These products are composed primarily of naturally-occurring constituent parts, and are often considered "green" or "eco-friendly" products.

Compostable

Some productsde using renewable resources. These cups are available in compostable paper styles, double-sided poly paper styles, and paper-lined styles with thick PLA shells. Made with up to 100% renewable resources, sustainable cups give you and your customers added peace of mind when using disposable cups for service. They are available in hot or cold cup designs, so be sure to check if the cup you're interested in is heat-resistant if hot beverages are your specialty.

Sustainable

Some productsde using renewable resources. These cups are available in compostable paper styles, double-sided poly paper styles, and paper-lined styles with thick PLA shells. Made with up to 100% renewable resources, sustainable cups give you and your customers added peace of mind when using disposable cups for service. They are available in hot or cold cup designs, so be sure to check if the cup you're interested in is heat-resistant if hot beverages are your specialty.

Degradable

Degradable products are oil-based and cannot break down naturally like biodegradable items can. Rather, degradable products are broken down through chemical reactions in anaerobic environments. Their decomposition results in water, carbon dioxide, biomass, or trace elements.

Recyclable 

Recyclable simply means that a product can be reused and made into something else, something new. To identify recyclable products, the universal recycling logo/symbol should be featured on the packaging. There are seven resin identification codes that can also be found on recyclable plastic packaging. These are codes that each refer to what type of plastic the packaging uses. The codes can then be referenced against the codes available for recycling by the local authority/council.

Post-Consumer Recycled Content

Post-consumer recycled content is material that has been used and discarded by the consumer, and then saved and turned into a completely new product. Once the initial product completes its life cycle as a consumer item, it is recycled and then made into another product, such as a paper or plastic packaging

Packaging Material

PLA Bioplastic

PLA (polylactic acid) is a natural biopolymer made using dextrose (sugar) derived from sugarcane, corn, sugar beets, wheat and other sustainable resources. PLA resin can be used to laminate paperboard in the production of paper cups. PLA products have a temperature resistance between -20º to 50ºC. They are NOT suitable for hot liquids. PLA compostable cold cups & containers are comparable in strength & weight to normal plastic. PLA is annually renewable and certified compostable around the world.

Sugarcane

Sugarcane offers a natural by-product when it is processed into sugar. It’s called bagasse. Bagasse is found in many household products but you wouldn’t know it. It’s one of the world’s best kept secrets. Sugarcane is the number one agricultural crop harvested in the world. Bagasse is formed when the juice from the sugarcane is extracted. After extraction, it is crushed during the production process. Because it is a natural by-product of sugar production, bagasse is industrially affordable. Now the paper industry has found that it can easily be used for paper production. 

A harvestable tree takes about 30 to 40 years to grow before it can be used for pulp while sugar cane can re-flourish for harvest in only 12 months. Sugarcane fibre can be perform moulded into strong and attractive food packaging products with benefits below 

  • Suitable for hot and cold food
  • Microwave safe
  • Biodegradable
  • Compostable

Corrugated cardboard / paper based packaging

Corrugated cardboard and other forms of paper based packaging are rightly regarded as being amongst the most environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Bamboo

Bamboo is the most important non-wood species which is fast growing & abundant in most of the tropical and subtropical zone. It has developed as a specially valuable and superior alternate for wood composite manufactured, such as for pulp and paper. Bamboo is a highly renewable material. It is one of the earth’s fastest growing plants, with some species growing up to 3 feet a day. Bamboo needs no replanting, and grows without fertilizers or pesticides and is harvested from controlled stands in three to five years. Hardwood forests on the other hand, need 15-20 years to mature. It is the fastest growing canopy for the re-greening of degraded lands and releases 35% more oxygen than equivalent timber stands. 

Bamboo Facts 

  • Bamboo is a high-yielding, viable replacement for wood and petroleum based products Is a critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 
  • Is a renewable alternative resource for agro-forestry production. 
  • Helps reduce pressure on forests through wood substitution. 
  • Bamboo products can be made in rural environments, reducing industrial and urbanization impacts.

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