GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Bagasse

The sugarcane fiber that remains after extracting the juice from the sugarcane. Sugarcane is not only a readily renewable resource, but the sugarcane fiber can be turned into products normally made from plastic and paper. Disposable, compostable and biodegradable.

Biocompostable

Plastic and paper products which disintegrate and biodegrade completely and safely when composted in a municipal or commercial facility. The process of biocomposting is usually completed within 90 days.

Biodegradable

Materials that decompose, usually by bacteria or sunlight, into original organic components within a reasonably short period of time. Most organic materials (paper, grass clippings, food scraps), under the right conditions, are biodegradable.

Bioplastics

Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable and compostable plastics. They are derived from renewable raw materials like starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc. They are not hazardous in production and decompose back into carbon dioxide, water, biomass etc. when discarded.

Compostable

Compostable materials are any material (or product) that degrades through the controlled biological decomposition of organic material in the presence of water, heat, and bacteria to form a humus-like material.

Life Cycle Assessment

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely accepted measurement tool for environmental sustainability – a technique for assessing the environmental impacts associated with a product or service, covering all stages in a product’s life.

Oxo-Biodegradable

Unlike "normal" plastics, that degrade and disintegrate very slowly, oxo-biodegradable plastics are manufactured to accelerate the destruction of the plastic product. The intent has been to develop a degradable and biodegradable plastic that is as functional as commodity plastics, but that would degrade and biodegrade relatively quickly in a disposal environment (litter, landfill, compost, water soil). The degradation, which involves the reaction of the plastic with oxygen in the air, is initiated by exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight), elevated temperatures and/or mechanical stress. It is “programmed” to start degradation on disposal after the product has fulfilled the required shelf and service lives as defined by end users. The end products of the process are carbon dioxide, water and biomass. Extensive studies and tests have been conducted with internationally recognized laboratories and institutions to confirm that they do not leave harmful or toxic residues in the environment.

PLA - Polylactic Acid

A product made from corn-starch, with a look and feel like petroleum based plastic. PLA is the one of the most commonly used bioplastics for making products.

Post Consumer

“Post-consumer waste recycled” paper is made out of paper that has already been used by the consumer and recovered from the solid waste stream. “Pre-consumer waste recycled” paper is made of paper scraps and trimmings left over during the manufacturing process. When a product claims to be “100% recycled”, it’s important to know the respective percentages of pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content.

Recyclable

Any material that can be recovered and reprocessed into usable product is considered to be recyclable. Plastic, paper, glass, steel and aluminum cans, and used oil are examples of recyclable materials.

Renewable Resources

Naturally occurring resources from the earth that can replenish themselves, or grow back. Plant-based resins like polylactic acid (PLA) provide a positive alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Fast growing plants like bamboo can also replace traditional wood fibers from slow growing trees in the manufacture of single use products like dinnerware and food containers.

Source Reduction

To eliminate waste and use less packaging.

Sustainability

Actions we take that support quality of life now and for future generations.
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