Bio Cutlery: Discover the Difference Between Biodegradable, Recycled Plastic & Bioplastics

By Ava Brown, October 22, 2019

Without a doubt, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about plastic products is pollution. The amount of plastic thrown in the landfill is really scary, but the scariest part of it all is that apart from harming the environment, plastic also harms all living beings. For instance, according to many studies, plastic products are the main culprit for choking in birds and fish.

Fortunately, manufacturers of plastic cutlery, cups, bowls and plates (which are mainly designed for cafes, coffee shops and certain types of restaurants) have found a better alternative to plastic. Nowadays, many businesses can find use in the three most popular types of environmentally-friendly plastics which do not compromise neither the look nor the quality. In other words, they are extremely appealing (just like metal/ceramic/porcelain products), just more beneficial for the environment. The food industry is one of the largest industries that uses disposable and compostable products, so those businesses that care for their public image should take into account these three replacements of regular plastic products. However, the question that arises is just how beneficial these options are or how big of an upgrade to regular plastic each of them can actually be… Is there one option that trumps all? Let’s find out!

bio cutlery

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable or also known as photo-degradable and oxo-degradable plastics can be decomposed by living organisms like bacteria. Generally speaking, biodegradable plastic cutlery is made of petrochemical plastics which are, sadly, not that beneficial for the environment. Usually, these plastics can break down into extremely harmful substances that are not suitable for composting as they can leave a toxic residue.

Recycled Plastics

As the name implies, recycled plastics are made from recycled plastic materials and can be recycled into something new, a new product. For instance, recycled bottles can be recycled in cups and vice versa. While this recycling process is great for preventing plastic products from ending up in the landfill, according to a lot of studies, this is not the ideal alternative as too much recycling can downgrade the actual product.

bio cutlery

Bioplastics

The last but not least plastic cutlery type used in the food industry is bio cutlery. Generally speaking, bio cutlery and bioplastic products in general, are made from natural materials like sugar cane and corn starch. However, these days it’s not uncommon to see bio cutlery and bioplastic products made from PLA which is a polylactic acid also known as polylactide. A great benefit of PLA products is that they are compostable and can break down under the right conditions.

The best part about all bio cutlery and PLA products is that they leave no toxic residue. In other words, experts say that PLA bio cutlery products represent the perfect balance between Eco-friendliness and sustainability. Available in a range of shapes and colours (white, black, grey, etc.), PLA cutlery is the perfect choice for those businesses that look for Eco-sustainable, yet elegant and smooth solution. Such cutlery can complement any type of event, and these are ideal for the use in cafes and restaurants thanks to their aesthetic appeal. According to manufacturers, PLA plastic can withstand temperatures up to 85 degrees making it difficult to break, snap or ‘melt’ when used by consumers.

bio cutlery

Now, except for these plastics, for the production of bio cutlery and commercial tableware in general, businesses can also invest in another type of environmental-friendly products – wooden tableware. Generally speaking, all of these products are made from fast-growing trees like birch and bamboo as they are renewable. Thanks to these properties, by using bamboo or birch products harming the environment and forest won’t be an option. For instance, once harvested, bamboo tree can renew in no time which means that there will be no damage at all.

Generally speaking, wood is an extremely sustainable material that can be used for different purposes. When talking about cutlery and plates in particular, experts advise relying on trustworthy suppliers as this can be considered a proof for the products’ sustainability and quality. These products should be 100% natural with no chemicals used in the manufacturing process. That way one can be sure that there will be no chemical impact on the environment, so when thrown, they can fully compost and decompose for about 90 days. Out of all these things, the best part is that wooden products don’t need any industrial facility or some special process to break down.

Note: A great proof of the products’ quality would be their certificate. According to the Australian law, a business cannot simply label its products as Eco-friendly if they don’t meet the strict criteria set by the Australian law. According to the Trade Practices Act 1974, businesses should provide consumers with accurate information about their goods and services. Those that make misleading or false representation on the packaging of the products will find themselves violating the law which is punishable.