July 18th, 2019
Plant-Based Plastic – What Does It Mean?
Plant-based plastics have similar chemical and physical properties as regular plastic. The primary difference is in the raw material used as input when making the plastic. Plant-based plastics are produced using sugarcane or other renewable resources, unlike conventional plastics which use fossil fuels like oil. Many plant-based plastics are recyclable via store drop-off. Plant-based plastics can also contain a blend of plant-based and conventional plastic, like the packaging used in Aria® toilet paper (52%), paper towels (94%), and napkins (94%).
The Benefits of Plant-Based Plastic
Plant-based polymers replace the use of fossil fuels by using sugar cane. This gives the plant-based plastic an environmental leg up for several reasons.
- It’s renewable. Once you use fossil fuels, they cannot be reused. Sugarcane, however, can be regrown.
- It has a lower carbon footprint. Every 1 ton of Aria® plant-based packaging will prevent 4 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, vs. traditional polyethylene packaging.*
- It drives economic growth in developing nations. Sugarcane is produced in many tropical countries which look for economic development. Their production of this plant not only reduces greenhouse emissions and dependence on fossil fuels; it also creates jobs in rural areas.
Aria® Packaging Certifications
USDA Certified Biobased Product: This symbol indicates that our packaging has been third-party tested at an independent lab to determine the amount of its biobased content. It is measured via a standard test (ASTM D6866) and looks at the ratio of the amount of new organic carbon to total organic carbon. Biobased content is defined as new organic carbon derived from plants and other renewable agricultural materials. It is a part of the BioPreferred program managed by the US Department of Agriculture.
I’m Green Plastic – A plastic produced from sugarcane that is verified by an international standard (ASTM D6866). Suppliers must meet the principles of sustainable development present in the "Responsible Ethanol Sourcing" document, which covers respect for biodiversity and good environmental practices.
The Aria® Brand Journey
We are on a journey to reduce our environmental impact from every touch point, including packaging. We started with a 52% plant-based packaging and, in partnership with our suppliers, recently developed a 94% plant-based package. But we don’t plan to stop there. We keep looking for new ways to reduce the environmental impact of our packaging.
*According to the environmental profile for climate change impact of I’m Green™ PE set forth in the Braskem I’m Green™ PE Life Cycle Assessment Study conducted by ACV Brasil (2017) (link). See Table 2 of the LCA for combined impact of both utilization of I’m Green™ PE and avoidance of Fossil Fuel-Based PE.KD