The Best Biodegradable Materials
Biodegradable materials are the new frontier in green products. Manufacturers promise products with the same utility as traditional ones, but which will simply decay away when properly disposed of. These products can be disposed of with ordinary trash (and in some cases the trash bags themselves are biodegradable!), removing the hassle of sorting trash into recyclables. Biodegradable plastics are particularly exciting. Ordinary plastics are difficult to recycle and have limited reuse usability, but can last for thousands of years in landfills.
In my opinion, the best biodegradable packing materials on the market are made from starch-based plastics. These materials use plant starches to make a thermoplastic; additives are used to increasing the heat resistance of the material. Plant starch-based materials also absorb humidity, which is a bonus in packaging.
Plastarch material is one of the best biodegradable materials on the market for packaging. It is made primarily from corn starch. Due to the mixture of materials used (all of them biodegradable), Plastarch material (PSM) is heat resistant. It is this heat resistance that makes PSM so versatile as a packaging material. PSM doesn't soften until 125 degrees Centigrade, and melts at 156 degrees. PSM also absorbs moisture. For use in packaging materials, PSM is made into a foam and then into packing peanuts or other materials.
In addition to being biodegradable, PSM can be safely incinerated. The resulting smoke is non-toxic, and the remaining material has potential use as fertilizer. It is also relatively inexpensive, though slightly more costly than traditional sources.