Food Containers. Biodegradable or Styrofoam?

Biodegradable Food Containers

Food Containers. Biodegradable or Styrofoam?

Because you don’t want to rely on plastic to takeout food, you think that you should try eco-friendly biodegradable food containers instead. But although these biodegradable food containers look the same as Styrofoam containers, they are not the same at all in terms of benefits. Styrofoam containers increase waste in landfills. They harm animals who eat from these landfills. And even add more carbon footprint when burnt.

Styrofoam Containers
Styrofoam Containers

I know that you love the fact that styrofoam containers are very lightweight, look nice especially with food. And they are easy to use and throw away. But they aren’t good for you or the health of your loved ones. The workers who make them in the factories are always at risk. And, of course, it is not good for the environment. The name Styrofoam is the commercial name of polystyrene which is plastic made of petroleum material called Styrene. And unfortunately, Styrene has been classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen. This is serious!

Putting food in styrofoam containers can easily get bad chemicals leaching into it, including styrene. Besides that, the chemicals manufacturers use to produce them are toxic. Styrofoam containers are not biodegradable at all. They need hundreds of years to decompose.

In this blog post, I will talk about the biodegradable food containers made from Sugarcane. It is an eco-friendly solution to the problems I just mentioned. And if you don’t have enough knowledge about Sugarcane, let me start with a quick definition.

What is Sugarcane? The Source of Biodegradable Food Containers

Sugar Cane
Sugar Cane

It is a tall perennial grass that goes about 6 to 20 feet tall. Its origin is Southeast Asia and grows in warm weather. Sugarcane is the main source of sugar. That’s obvious, I guess.

It is normal if you didn’t know what is sugarcane. But you need to know also that it accounts for the majority percentage of sugar produced worldwide. It produces sugarcane juice as well. Which shops and restaurants in several parts of the world offer as a drink. And some people use it as a traditional sweetener.

After producing sugar and juice from sugarcane, a lot of waste is leftover which can be re-used in the manufacturing of other products using Bagasse. So, now a new term came to light. Another quick definition.

What is Bagasse?

Sugarcane Bagasse
Sugarcane Bagasse

When sugarcane is pressed to produce juice and extract sugar, the remaining leftover fiber waste is formed into mulch which is called bagasse. The bagasse becomes strong and lightweight after forming it into a mold.

Because sugarcane needs almost one year to regenerate, making products from bagasse that we get from sugarcane is much more eco-friendly than using trees to produce food containers made from paper. Because trees take a lot more time and effort to grow compared to Sugarcane.

How they are made?

Bagasse is a byproduct of sugarcane harvesting and manufacturing. So farmers harvest the Sugarcane. Workers extract juice from it. The remaining fiber waste is bagasse mulch, as I just mentioned. They then gather this mulch, that previously they were throwing away as waste. And use heat pressing to form the shapes they want for the final products.

Most manufacturers who follow high-quality standards inspect the sugarcane bagasse they get from Sugarcane factories. And this is even before putting it into production, to control the quality from the beginning.

Then, they create a bagasse pulp. Put it under high temperature and high pressure to create molded shapes. Then dry them. And cut them to create the designs we see everywhere, like Clamshell food containers.

After the final form is reached, the food containers go under metal detectors to make sure they are safe for usage. Then they go into the disinfecting process. And later packed to be delivered to the customer.

It is worth mentioning that although I am talking here about food containers, bagasse goes also into making disposable cutlery, plates, bowls, and cups.

The benefits of using sugarcane food containers and packaging?

It is clear that we are going to depend on disposable single-use packaging for a while. And that’s because we can’t reuse or share packaging with others during the Coronavirus pandemic. As you already know.

The traditional single-use packaging was only made from paper and plastic. And after the introduction of biodegradable food containers made from Sugarcane, we found the right solution. A solution that we can depend on. Even after the pandemic is over, we can rely on this solution in our eco-friendly lifestyle.

They can handle hot and cold food. They have a simple yet stylish design. And after using and composting, they take only 3 to 6 months max. to completely decompose. Which is very eco-friendly compared to the hundreds of years plastic products take. Besides that, they consist of totally natural materials.

They are very durable and have resistance to high heat. Which makes them more durable than plastic food containers. So, they are suitable and safe to use in microwaves and ovens.

What do real customers say about this type of eco-friendly products?

Normal customers who use this eco-friendly product use it for camping, picnics, lunches catering, BBQ, and in restaurants.

It is the best eco-friendly alternative to plastic and paper food containers. However,  you have to know its positives and negatives in terms of usage from real customers on Amazon.

On the positive side, Jake decided to help local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. He used this type of food containers to package meals individually. As per his review, they were easy to close and hold up. As long as the food is not of liquid form. Another customer said that they are great for leftovers. They don’t spell wet food. But he didn’t try to put liquid food inside them as well.

And on the negative side, some customers complained that they were getting wet and soft within an hour. Other customers said, “just don’t go eco-friendly, it is expensive and useless”. And of course, you know their intentions, if you get what I mean 😊.

So, in general, you need to make sure you are getting the biodegradable food containers from trusted sellers with great reviews. And that you don’t use them for very wet or liquid food to avoid issues.

Shouldn’t you switch now to biodegradable food containers?

So, now you know that there is a similar-looking, more stylish, and zero-risk alternative solution to styrofoam food containers. A solution that helps you and the environment at the same time. And without messing with your budget. It can help individuals and restaurants as well.

Next time you shop for food containers to use to takeout food or preserve leftovers, you need to look for biodegradable food containers. If you visit a restaurant and find out that people there are still using styrofoam or even paper to package food, just give a hint that they can replace them with this eco-friendly solution.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Is this the first time you hear about biodegradable food containers made from sugarcane? Are you going to try them?

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