Biobased and degradable plastics used for packaging are a small segment of the plastics market, but one that is expanding significantly. A comprehensive report, Biobased and Degradable Plastics: Understanding New Packaging Materials and Their Management in California, summarizes the major findings of studies sponsored by CalRecycle, and explores the potential benefits and challenges associated with the introduction of new materials in the waste stream.
Degradable Plastic Labeling Requirements
California and the Federal Trade Commission have instituted labeling requirements and guidance to help ensure that consumers are not misled regarding the end of life management of degradable, biodegradable, and compostable plastic products. For more information about specified standards, terms used on labels, and penalties for mislabeling products please visit CalRecycle’s Labeling page.
Compostable Plastics Fact Sheet
CalRecycle published a Compostable Plastics Fact Sheet describing general uses and challenges associated with compostable plastic products and information about certification of products in accordance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) compostable plastic specifications.
Biobased and Degradable Plastic Studies
CalRecycle has published numerous studies relating to various aspects of biobased and degradable plastics. For more information on these studies, please follow the links below.
- Biobased and Degradable Plastics: Understanding New Packaging Materials and Their Management in California (2014)
- Renewable Bioplastics and Biocomposites From Biogas Methane and Waste-Derived Feedstock: Development of Enabling Technology, Life Cycle Assessment, and Analysis of Costs (2014)
- Experimental Comparison of Chemical Migration from Petrochemical Plastic and Bioplastic Bottles into Drinking Water (2014)
- Bioplastics in California: Economic Assessment of Market Conditions for PHA/PHB Bioplastics Produced from Waste Methane (2013)
- The Bioplastics Sorting Project (2013)
- Biodegradable Bottle Development and Testing: Evaluation of the Manufacturing Process and Performance Properties for Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) Materials (2012)
- PLA and PHA Biodegradation in the Marine Environment (2012)
- Performance Evaluation of Environmentally Degradable Plastic Packaging and Disposable Service Ware (2007)
- Evaluation of the Performance of Rigid Plastic Packaging Containers, Bags, and Food Service Packaging in Full-Scale Commercial Composting (2007)