What is Plantic?

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Plantic® is a type of biodegradable plastic produced by the Australia-based Plantic Company. It is derived from starches found in corn, rather than petrochemicals, which makes it sustainable and very environmentally friendly. Plantic® is just one in a wide family of plastics created with plant-based starch. These products are designed to decompose quickly and naturally, ensuring that their component starches return to the earth, rather than remaining in landfills.

The basis of Plantic® is high amylose corn starch. This starch can be used to create Plantic® in a variety of colors and thicknesses depending on need. All of these products decompose when composted, typically in about three months. The entity also highlights that Plantic® can be made with organic corn, for consumers who want to follow organic standards. Technically, Plantic® can even potentially be eaten, although this is not recommended.

The main disadvantage of the early forms of Plantic® was that it was a little too biodegradable. The product would break when used with wet food, for example, and melt in warm or hot water. However, the company has used consumer feedback to develop more robust versions of the product that can be used in a wide variety of applications.

One of Plantic Company’s specialties are the trays used in the packaging of foods such as fine chocolates. A Plantic® tray can keep food dry and insulate candy pieces from each other so they don’t melt together during transport, while protecting food in case the package is crushed or dropped. The company also sells sheets of Plantic® that can be melted for injection molding purposes, to companies that want to form their own Plantic® containers and products.

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The use of materials such as Plantic® began to gain popularity in the early 21st century as consumers became more aware of the problems with petrochemicals. In addition to being potentially polluting and non-renewable, the prices of petrochemicals tend to fluctuate, altering the prices of products such as the plastic derived from them. Petrochemicals are also slow to break down, raising concerns about landfills that store these plastics for millions of years, and they are found in abundance in the world’s oceans, raising concerns about the well-being of marine life around the world.

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