Biodegradable Ireland - for bags that don't cost the earth

Euro sign

Welcome to Biodegradable.ie - the website from Polybags UK dedicated to Irish customers who want to do their bit for the environment.

As the UK's number one manufacturer of polythene and eco-friendly packaging, Polybags has always offered great savings, delivery and service to our Irish customers, but today the savings are bigger than ever.

Sterling has weakened following the announcement of Brexit, so your Euros get you more for your money, plus all VAT-registered customers pay no VAT - saving you a further 23%!

Add a huge range of eco-packaging, from compostable food waste bags to biodegradable carrier bags, a no-quibble guarantee and a two-day delivery service - free for orders over £120 - and you've got the perfect place to buy green packaging. Céad míle fáilte!

Save 23% on everything - pay no VAT!

Pay no VAT stamp

If you are a business customer and your company is VAT-registered in Ireland then all purchases made with us are liable for VAT at zero rate - that's a saving of 23%!

Once you've chosen your products and reached checkout, simply add your VAT number (starting IE) to the 'Additional Information' box. We'll then refund the VAT on this first order and all future orders placed will automatically be VAT-free.

If you'd prefer to speak to a member of our team, just call +44 20 8575 8200 and ask to be set up with an online account. Once that's done you can start shopping online with us VAT-free.

Our green credentials

We have been working with London's Metropolitan University for many years to produce totally new and revolutionary packing solutions that are designed to reduce plastic bag wastage with some ingenious results, like making fully compostable bags out of potato starch!

We also collect and recycle regular polythene bags, returning them to polymer to reuse in the production of more standard packaging.

Why degradable or biodegradable packaging?

Starch based biodegradable bin liners and refuse sacks

Biodegradation is the process by which organic substances are broken down by the enzymes produced by living organisms.

The website Packagingknowledge.com states: "Conventional plastics do not break down. Litter and landfill waste may take years to degrade. Another problem with ordinary plastics is that anything contained within them may not reach their full degradation potential. This results in a needless waste of valuable landfill space."

Based on the material used, bioplastics can take varying lengths of time to totally compost, but usually biodegrade up to 60% within 90 to 180 days. It is also important to know the differences between degradable, biodegradable and compostable.

Compostable

"Capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials (e.g. cellulose) and leaves no toxic residue." - American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM).

So in order for a plastic to be called compostable it needs to meet three rules:

  1. It needs to be able to biodegrade, i.e. it needs to break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper)
  2. The material has to fully disintegrate, i.e. be indistinguishable in the compost
  3. Eco-toxicity - the biodegradation must not produce any toxic material so that the compost can support plant growth

Biodegradable plastic

Biodegradable plastic is one which can be chemically degraded via natural effectors such as soil bacteria, weather, plants or animals.

Note that there is no requirement for leaving no toxic residue, as well as no requirement for the time it takes to biodegrade.

Degradable plastic

By definition, this term refers to a plastic film containing a controlled percentage of an appropriate non-toxic, non-tinting additive, which will enable the plastic film to totally degrade when exposed to aerobic or anaerobic conditions, including when disposed in a landfill or other regulated dumping area, and within such period of time as specified.

A plastic therefore may be degradable but not biodegradable or it may be biodegradable but not compostable, i.e. it breaks down too slowly to be called compostable or leaves toxic residue.