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  • Writer's pictureMMP Corporation

Biodegradable or Conventional Plastic Food Wrap?

Food is wrapped in plastic for hygiene and freshness.

With the emphasis these days on the sustainability of products such as plastic food wrap, many people and organizations are wondering whether they should buy biodegradable plastic or a standard type of plastic wrap in support of sustainability.

Many of those concerned have heard about biodegradable plastic wrap reducing one's carbon footprint and wonder if this is the better alternative.

We’ll look into the differences between biodegradable and standard plastic food wrap, talk about what each of them is made from, and talk about their suitability for different applications. This will give you a better idea of the appropriate uses for each of them and also alert you to some less-than-honest claims about legitimate uses for biodegradable plastic wrap.

How Does Biodegradable Differ from Standard Plastic?

Standard plastic food wrap and other products that are household items we've grown up with are made from fossil-based polymers. The main function of fossil-based food wrap is to protect the food’s hygiene and freshness by being impermeable to air and other elements.

There are also several types of biodegradable wraps on the market. Each of these alternatives has its own reasons why it's impractical or unsuitable for use with food.

  • Paper is one of the oldest types of food packaging. But it doesn't offer a high standard of hygiene and food safety, plus it deteriorates very quickly.

  • Hemp is growing in popularity as a food packaging as it's extremely resilient and versatile, as well as being biodegradable. However, the economics of hemp production still make it an expensive and rarely used polymer for food packaging.

  • Cellulose degrades very quickly and easily, making it unsuitable for any packaging demanding a proper shelf life. It also discolors easily and doesn’t guarantee an acceptable standard of hygiene.

Numerous manufacturers have gone to great lengths to convince the public that their plastic food wrap is biodegradable. These manufacturers are misleading the public as the genuine biodegradable film is unsafe for microwaves and is still too costly for the consumer market on a large-scale basis.

MMP Corp is ready to produce the biodegradable plastic wrap, but due to the limitations of its function (non-microwavable) and its inferior performance compared to conventional plastic wrap, we have yet to start marketing the product. Instead, we've focused our efforts on reducing the carbon footprint of our standard plastic food wrap products.

Reducing the Carbon Footprint

Currently, MMP Corp has taken a different track and chosen sustainable plastic food wrap production over biodegradable plastic wrap in looking at the bigger picture of reducing the carbon footprint. We’ve launched a CSR campaign to educate the public about the value of recycling plastic food film into other useful products such as shoes, and to collaborate with other partners to find the best method of collecting used film.

The term "carbon footprint" refers to the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by a company in producing its products. It also takes into account the sustainability of the products themselves and their "life-cycle", or whether they're disposed of or recycled back into new products or uses.

The GHGs are categorized into direct and indirect emissions. Direct emissions are those controlled by the company. Indirect emissions are those created as a result of the product or process but not directly related to the company. For example, you might have a factory that requires electricity. The greenhouse gases caused by the generation of electricity at a power plant far away would be added to your carbon footprint as an indirect emission.

The concept of the carbon footprint has been accepted as a much more precise indicator of a company’s negative or positive effect on the natural environment. A company may simply point at its use of solar panels as an indication that they are sustainable and ecologically aware. But the solar panels have to offset any negative impact also caused by the company to arrive at a low number representing its total carbon footprint.

Carbon footprint calculations can be very complex and include every form of transportation, tool and resource used by the company in manufacturing its products.

MMP Corp has done the carbon footprint calculations, and we have determined that setting up a public system and network of recycling and encouraging the public to use it is the correct course to take, at least until biodegradable plastics meet all the criteria for food packaging.

Pursuing a policy of recycling and reuse will allow us to increase the amount of post-consumer plastic resin (PCR) in our standard plastic food wrap products. By adopting this policy, we can concentrate our effort on adopting environmentally cleaner methods of manufacturing. We also set up a system that will help clean up the world’s oceans and forests.

Explore the Sustainable Products of MMP Corp

MMP Corp produces five varieties of our M Wrap sustainable and hygienic plastic food wrap. It’s made from special food-grade polymers of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene (PE).

Our changes to our manufacturing processes and products have resulted in being recognized with a new certificate by the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization for our food wrapping film's reduction of global warming factors by 4.08%. Please contact us for more information about our sustainable processes and products.

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