Frequently asked questions
What does composting mean?
The term compostable means that a material is compatible with a composting process. The European standard EN 13432 defines the characteristics a finished product must fulfil in order to be recovered through organic recovery. Compostable means that a material A, is biodegradable under composting conditions. B, disintegrates completely in one composting cycle. C, has no toxic effects and does not release heavy metals over a given value into the compost D, has no negative effect on the composting process itself.
What is the difference between compostable and biodegradable?
If a material is compostable it is automatically considered as biodegradable and can be recovered in a composting process. A biodegradable material will break down under the action of micro-organisms, but could leave residues after one composting cycle and no guarantee for toxic residues can be given. Therefore a biodegradable material cannot automatically be considered to be compostable before proof of its compostability has been given according to existing standards (EN13432).
The term biodegradable is very often misused in marketing and advertising of products and materials that are not actually environmentally friendly. This is why BioBag more often uses the term compostable when describing our products. All of BioBag’s products are third-party certified compostable.
Are BioBags home compostable?
Home compostability is different from industrial compostability for two main reasons: 1) the temperatures reached by the waste inside the home composting bin are usually only a few centigrade degrees higher than the outside temperature, and this is true for short time periods (in industrial composting, the temperatures reach 50°C – with peaks of 60-70°C – for a number of months); 2) home composting bins are managed by amateurs, and the composting conditions might not always be ideal (in contrast, industrial composting plants are managed by qualified personnel, and kept under ideal working conditions). BioBags, most commonly used for managing waste are certified as “home compostable”, as they biodegrade at the temperature of the environment and in a home composting bin.
How long does it take for BioBags to start disintegrating in a landfill?
The conditions found in landfills (non-active, sealed landfills) are generally not conducive to biodegradation. As a consequence, Mater-Bi is expected not to contribute significantly to biogas formation in a landfill. This has been shown in a study carried out by Organic Waste systems.
How long time does it take before a compostable BioBag starts to disintegrate if it’s disposed of in the environment?
Littering should not be encouraged under any circumstances. If a compostable BioBag accidentally ends up in our environment, the biodegradation process depends on weather conditions (temperature, humidity) and how biological active the environment itself is.
How long time does it take for a BioBag, to start disintegrating in a sea environment?
Our bags are not water soluble and therefore disintegration will not start immediately, but will require several months to be achieved, primarily through hydrolysis.
Are BioBags biodegradable in sea?
The biodegradability of BioBags products has been demonstrated under liquid conditions and at room temperature. This is important evidence that the material is biodegradable in water and sea environments. Further laboratory studies are underway.
Is it ethical to use starch to produce the raw material that BioBag is using?
Starch is a resource that is available to man, just like wood, coal and oil. However, these resources are no different from the point of view of their potential because they constitute a source of energy/raw material and therefore can be used for the same final purposes; oil can be used to produce fertilizers and fuel for tractors, which are necessary to produce food. As a result, oil can indirectly produce food. Therefore, whether or not using a particular resource is ethical or not, should not be determined by how it is used but by how it is obtained and exploited (quantities, geographical areas, extraction/cultivation methods, etc.)
What proportion of the total Italian production of corn is used by our raw material supplier Novamont?
The area of land dedicated to the production needs of Novamont was 0.05% of the total area in Italy dedicated to producing maize.
Can BioBag products biodegrade on the shelf?
No. BioBag products will not biodegrade on the shelf. Biodegradation will only be initiated in a compost environment in the presence of micro-organisms, humidity and warmth. However, a BioBag product can over time, like any other material, lose some of its mechanical properties.
What advantages does this compostable bag give over a polyethylene bag?
Using biodegradable and compostable bags increases recovery options. In addition to recovering energy and recycling, organic recovery is also possible. Using raw materials technologies based on renewable resources becomes increasingly strategic as we move away from oil, a non-renewable resource.