A handful of companies around the globe have harnessed the power of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) to produce compostable straws, but Kansas City, Missouri-based Biolo, has found a way to use PHA technology to manufacture not only straws but also fully compostable bags. Biolo’s packaging solutions have a level of biodegradability that other eco-friendly packaging solutions lack, according to the company.
PHA is a renewable plant-based plastic alternative suitable for soil and marine biodegradation, as well as for home and industrial composting, Biolo says. When PHA enters a bioactive environment—any setting where live microbes are present—the biodegradation process begins.
PHA is a natural fuel source for microbes. When PHA and microbes interact—whether in a home composting bin, a landfill or a body of water—the microbes break down the PHA product entirely without leaving behind any harmful substances, including microplastics, Biolo says.
Other existing plastic-alternative packaging materials do not entirely fulfill the needs of companies looking to reduce single-use plastics. Some alternatives are too weak to withstand the same use conditions as traditional plastics, while the end-of-life cycles of others are not as sustainable as some manufacturers claim, the company adds.
For example, polylactic acid (PLA) is a plastic alternative that has been used during the past decade. However, PLA is only certified for industrial composting and only can be broken down in special industrial composting facilities. The network of industrial composting facilities is limited and not readily accessible to much of the public, Biolo says.
The plastic waste crisis has motivated many companies to establish sustainability goals designed to reduce and, eventually, eliminate their use of single-use plastics. Closed Loop Partners also has published a guide to eliminating plastic bags.
Biolo says it helps businesses in a variety of industries with plant-based packaging that delivers performance equal to or better than petroleum-based plastic packaging. Biolo’s product and mailer bags are available in stock or custom options. The company’s packaging has been used in e-commerce, apparel, food, retail, food service and other applications.