Compostable films are made from bio-polymers, such as potato or corn starch or polylactic acid (PLA). Just like biodegradable films, they require certain conditions to decompose and under legislation, they must meet certain criteria to be classified as compostable.
Most compostable films are considered compostable at an industrial level, so aren’t suitable for home composting like you might think. Whilst they’ll still break down in a home compost heap, they’d take longer than in industrial conditions.
When they do breakdown, they turn into water and CO2. Whilst the latter might seem like a negative, it often has a neutral effect on the environment. This is because the plant-based materials used to make the films absorbed CO2 in the first place. They also break down a lot quicker than biodegradable plastics.
This is our recommended mailing film for publications that are still wanting to show off the cover on arrival in letterboxes but that are enviromentally focused.
Biodegradable mailing film
Biodegradable Film, sometimes referred to as "degradable" film, are the most effective and economic of the plastics. It is based on Oxo-degradation and has also become known as Oxo-biodegradable, or "totally degradable".
An additive is included in the manufacturing process of conventional plastic, which changes the behaviour of the plastic. Oxo-biodegradation is a two-stage process in which, first the plastic is converted by reaction with oxygen to molecular fragments that are water wettable and second, these smaller oxidized molecules are biodegraded (converted into carbon dioxide, water and biomass).
This is no longer a recommended film, The EU has now banned the production due to it contaminating the recyle process.