Are cartons biodegradable?

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    Whether or not a carton (or any other package) is biodegradable depends on what it’s made of.

    Packaging that is advertised as biodegradable is made of bioplastics–starch products derived from some kind of raw material. This is typically a staple food like corn, sugar cane, or potato. Polyactic acid (PLA) is a common bioplastic ingredient that comes from corn.

    Keep in mind that while bioplastics are engineered to be biodegradable, growing the materials for these disposable products is costly for the environment. We are technically growing food for fuel, instead of food to feed. Most of these plastics aren’t recyclable and take a very long time (or a lot of extra heat) to decompose, so they end up hanging around landfills anyway.

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