Corn Starch Bags for Greeting Cards

Jan 11, 2022

Sometimes shops prefer their cards to be wrapped in plastics to protect them from water damage. One compromise solution is to use Corn Starch bags rather than cello bags.

Unfortunately Corn Starch bags have generally not taken off because they are a lot more expensive when compared to cello bags and the eco-plastics can look a little milky. They are also not that easy to compost.

In terms of being eco-friendly Card bands and Bundle Bands are by far the best option because they are made of paper and contain no plastics.

Pros and Cons of Corn Starch Plastic

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Advantages of corn starch polymers:

  • Corn plastic packaging or items made from corn plastic, will decompose within two months of being in a high humidity composting environment, at a temperature of above 60° Celsius or 140° Fahrenheit. So it returns to the earth, where it originally came form.
  • It comes from a renewable source, corn, which can be planted again.
  • Bioplastics will not emit toxic gasses when it is incinerated as it contains no toxins.
  • A reduction of 68% of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with production of conventional fossil fuel plastic, so much less greenhouse gases are emitted.
  • Corn starch plastic needs 65% less energy to be produced than conventional petroleum based plastics.
  • PLA plastic is cost competitive with conventional plastic.
  • Using corn starch polymers to make plastic have no danger of explosion during the production process as is the case with petroleum, so it is much safer to work with.
  • Organic food waste can be composted with it.
  • The bio plastic is free of BPA’s and phthalate, so no worries about endocrine disruption.
  • Corn starch packaging has less static electricity than synthetically made packaging materials.

Disadvantages of corn starch polymers:

Corn starch bags

The biggest disadvantage of bio plastics and corn plastic, is associated with the rate of bio degradation and recycling. Because PLA is plant based, it needs to be disposed of in a composting facility. 

  • Corn plastic will only break down and decompose in the hot and humid environment of a commercial composting facility. So it can not be composted at home.
  • Very few industrial composting facilities currently exist where corn starch plastic can be composted correctly.
  • Composting is not the perfect disposal method as greenhouse gas, methane, is produced when they decompose.
  • The recycling stream can be contaminated when consumers put corn starch plastic into recycling rather than composting.
  • Inadequate infrastructure to compost PLA, might mean that it still goes into landfill. If commercial composting is not available, PLA plastic could end up in landfill where it will take as long as traditional plastic to break down, or it could get mixed up in plastic recycling.
  • Corn starch polymers make regular compost more acidic.
  • Material Recovery Facilities are responsible for sorting and disposal of PLA.
  • Polylactic acid and corn plastic is typically made from genetically modified corn, so even more concerns about the whole GMO debacle.
  • There are moral issues with corn being used as there are people going hungry in the world.

More information about Biodegradable Plastics

Plastic Free Packaging article here

The science and environmental benefits of biodegradable plastics is a complex subject. If you wish to know more here are two articles on the subject that you can download