Our KoHo Barriers are made from:
- corn starch (from corn not fit for consumption)
- PLA (Polylactide, which is made from waste corn too and other plants)
- PBAT (Polybutyrate Adipate Terephthalate).
What is PLA?
Polylactic acid, or PLA, is a "bio-plastic" meaning it is manufactured, from renewable, naturally occuring sources, such as fermented plant starch; as found in corn or sugar cane.
PLA had the second highest consumption volume of any bioplastic of the world in 2010, and demand has since rapidly increased.
A PLA based plastic, in an industrial facility, will degrade in as little as 1 to 3 months. Outside these controled environments, PLA will still begin degrading safely, albiet at a slower rate, once exposed to any moist and warm environment. Details of this are thoroughly outlined in this peer reviewed scientific study.
As such, we do recomend storing your unused KoHo barriers in a cool, dry environment away from direct UV sunlight.
What about the PBAT?
While PBAT is incredibly biodegradable and will decompose in home compost leaving no toxic residues, it is currently, partly derived, from naturally occuring petrochemicals. This means it’s not technically renewable (because the earth’s oil stocks are finite and becoming depleted) and this is why we’re working super-hard to research and test some of the emerging resins which have a higher bio-base (ie. are more made from plants).
Interestingly, it is PBAT that is added to the PLA that increased the biodegradability, as outlined in this peer reviewed study.
This helps the PLA safely degrade quickly enough to meet the CAN/BNQ 0017-088 and EN 13432 home compostability criteria.
To our knowledge there are no bio-based plastics suitable for making barrier bags that do not have a binding agent like PBAT in them.
We are currently working hard and trialing a higher percentage bio-based PBAT.
Unfortunately, when it comes to plant-based inputs there is a trade-off between renewability and compostability – the higher the % renewable, plant-based components, the slower it actually is to compost!
- As an aside; corn cobs, banana skins and avocado skins would not pass the CAN/BNQ 0017-088 and EN 13432 home compost test.
What about the additional corn starch?
The additional corn starch in our KoHo barriers is specifically added to reduce PBAT content, so it speeds up the biodegradability timelines, and adds flexibility to our product so they can move with you.
So how should you dispose of your used KoHo barriers?
We do not reccommend disposing of your PLA based barriers (or any used tattoo equipment) with conventional recycling.
PLA plastics are indistinguishable from regular plastics (think, coke bottle) and as such, due to their organic nature, will reduce the quality and resale value of the recycled pelletised PET (regular plastic) polymer.
Our barriers, with their blend of bio-plastics, will fully biodegrade in any industrial composting facility in 1 to 3 months. Outside of these controlled environment they will still degrade safely (at a slower rate) once exposed to natural microbes, warmth and moisture such as a landfil or home composter.
As such, if your do not have access to an industrial composting facility, or a large, high quality home composter, we reccomend simply disposing of your used barriers with your conventional garbage. It might not biodegrade as quickly as a banana skin, but its a damn sight better than regular plastics regardless of where they come from.