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Polythene Biodegradable bags

Most types & style of polythene bags and packaging films can be produced with biodegradable materiel, irrelevant of whether it is coloured or printed. Please contact us to discuss and price your polythene biodegradable bag and packaging requirements and help towards reducing the carbon footprint we all generate..

Polyethylene or polythene film is usually stable and resistant to degradation, however methods are available to make it more degradable under certain conditions of sunlight, moisture, oxygen and composting.

Generally Polythene or Polyethylene film will naturally fragment and biodegrade itself but it can take many decades for this to happen, there are two main methods to resolve this problem. One is to modify the carbon chain of polyethylene with an additive to improve its degradability and then its biodegradability, another is to make a film with similar properties to polyethylene from a biodegradable substance such as starch. The latter however is usually much more expensive,  the former is generally known as Additive Based Biodegradable Film.

Additive based (Oxo-Biodegradable)

These films are made by blending an additive to provide an oxidative and then a biological mechanism to degrade them, this typically takes 6 months to 2 years in the environment with adequate exposure to oxygen.  Degradation is a two stage process, first the plastic is converted by reaction with oxygen (light, heat and/or stress accelerates the process but is not essential) to low molecular-weight fragments that water can wet and then these smaller oxidized molecules are biodegraded  i.e. converted into carbon dioxide, water and biomass by micro-organisms. This is similar to the breakdown of woody plant material where it is broken down and forms a humus component improving the soil quality. If put in an in-vessel composting system this type of plastic will rapidly break down but it is not currently marketed as compostable.

Pros & cons of additive based biodegradable bags and film


Much cheaper than starch-based plastics

Made with normal machinery and can be used in high speed machines.

Materials are well known.

Does not compete against food production.

These films look, act and perform just like their non-degradable counterparts during their programmed service-life but then break down when discarded.

They are certified non-toxic, and safe for food-contact .


Degradation depends on access to air.

Not designed to degrade in landfill but can be safely landfilled. Will degrade if oxygen is present and will NOT emit methane in landfill.

They are not suitable for PET or PVC.

Precise rate of degradation/biodegradation cannot be predicted but will be faster than nature’s waste’s such as straw or wood and much faster than normal plastic.

Like normal plastics they are made from a by-product of oil or natural gas.

If mixed with other plastics for recycling the recycling process is compromised.

Please contact us on 01253 876593 to discuss your specific requirements or use our contact form.


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