ARTS STAR CARDS
The serious stuff
Due to the damage that waste plastic is doing to the environment, Arts Star Cards are working hard to replace fossil fuel based cello bags with greener biodegradable and compostable alternatives where-ever possible. In appearance customers will find our eco-friendly cello bags almost identical to the old polypropylene bags. In normal UK retail conditions, they are quite stable – they are designed to break down by composting at ‘end of life’ not during storage.
All our compostable cello bags are made in the UK from film that has been accredited to ‘OK biobased’ and DIN EN 13432. They are made from vegetable starch and are fully biodegradable and compostable, which means that they break down to CO2 and water which can then be reused in the eco system to make new plants. This process can happen in either commercial or home composting or landfill but in commercial composting the temperature will be higher, and the process is much quicker. (As a guide, the film specs state that it takes approx. 45 days for them to decompose at a constant 58°C – like that found in industrial composting.) The biodegradation process uses naturally occurring bacterial / fungi to break down the film into CO2 and H2O and ecotoxic free biomass (compost). In a colder home composter or landfill this will require the presence suitable bacteria / fungi to start the process and it will just take longer. The time scale will largely depend on the local conditions, it will inevitably take longer to compost in the Highlands of Scotland than it does in Cornwall.
Our Biofilm (PLA) bags are made from sustainable and annually renewable vegetable starch which is derived from an annually renewable crop, as opposed to petro-chemical based plastics which are non-renewable. Thereby offering a greener alternative to polypropylene etc. without wasting the planets finite supply of petrochemicals and adding to greenhouse gas emissions.
The shelf life of our eco-friendly cello bags, in ideal conditions (at room temperature, kept away from humidity and direct sunlight) should be up to 12 months, but may well be a good bit longer. Please be advised that these new vegetable starch bags were only launched last year so until they start to degrade, we don’t have a definitive time scale. The main thing to maximise shelf life, is to avoid exposure to humidity and excessive heat, moisture and light. So, realistically in normal shop use you should get many months if not a year or more before any degradation could start to show. These bags are also very stable should they be splashed with water – they don’t start to degrade immediately so if wiped off promptly they should come to no harm. Exposure to bright direct sunlight such as in a shop window can result in degradation / discolouration over time, however this is only likely to be a problem in extreme conditions.
CELLO BAG LIMITATIONS:
They are not waterproof but if splashed with water and wiped off straight away they should come to no harm.
SELF SEAL STRIPS:
Although the cello bags are compostable, at present the peel off strips are the same as those used on polypropylene bags. So, at present these strips are not compostable but we are working with our supplier towards a biodegradable solution.
There has recently been some confusion between our cello bags – bio-film (PLA) and oxo-degradable plastics. Oxo-degradables are conventional plastics with additives to assist their disintegration into micro-plastic particles. Please be assured that we DO NOT use oxo-degradable plastics. All our eco-friendly cello bags are biodegradable and compostable – they are NOT oxo-degradable!
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR CELLO BAG:
1) Compost Heap: This is what they are designed for so is the best option. (They are suitable for both home and industrial composting)
2) Council Garden waste bin: Although this would work you would need to check with your local council to ensure that that this waste is going for industrial composting. (Also, you could end up ‘at odds’ with the council for putting what they could view to be the wrong waste in the bin.)
3) Food Waste Bin: This would also be suitable but once again it might be best to check what the council is doing with this waste. (The bags are suitable for anaerobic digestion or industrial composting, if they will allow you to put them in).
4) General Waste Bin: Although possibly not viewed as the perfect option, in landfill they will break down to CO2 and water in much the same way as they would in a compost heap.
5) Recycled Paper and Card Bin: They should not go in with paper for recycling.
6) Recycled Plastic Bag Collections: They should not go in this bin either. Biodegradable and compostable film is made from renewable plant materials, not petrochemicals. It is designed to break down to CO2 and H2O so leaves nothing suitable for recycling unlike traditional plastic bottles etc.
Hopefully this will enable you to choose the best option for environmentally responsible disposal of the biodegradable bags.
ARE OUR ECO-FRIENDLY CELLO BAGS GM FREE?
Our eco cello bags are made from starch derived from potatoes / corn or other vegetables. These crops are not grown just to make the cello bags so the ‘raw materials’ are likely to have been sourced from a range of different producers and processing companies. With the widespread use of GM products, we must therefore assume it probable that at least a small percentage of this starch could have originated from GM crops or from non-GM crops contaminated by proximity to a GM crop. Therefore, we cannot guarantee 100% that these bags will be completely GM free.
We believe that in a world where petro-chemical based single use plastics are rarely recycled and many will inevitably end up in landfill or worse still, littering the countryside, using truly biodegradable and compostable bio-film cello bags can genuinely contribute to solving the environmental problem posed by the disposal of single use plastics and help to create a cleaner planet. We are therefore committed to expanding our range of recyclable papers and biodegradable and compostable packaging derived from renewable and sustainable sources. On the downside, we realise that petro-chemical based bags are cheaper to produce than their bio-film alternatives, but they do come at a far lower cost to the environment.
We live in changing times and Arts Star Cards appreciate that it may not be easy for every retailer to move over to a more environmentally friendly process immediately – our commitment at Arts Star Cards is to try to help the process along and if we can, make things a little better for retailers, the consumer and the planet.