FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Bioaware Plastic Free Food Containers Where do they come from?
We’ve designed and hand crafted them in the Cotswolds, out of plant material.
What are the containers made of?
They are made of polylactic acid (PLA) which is chains of lactic acid. Lactic
acid is a liquid naturally in your blood, (the one that makes your muscles ache
when you exercise). It is in yoghurt and many foods. It’s a natural simple liquid.
PLA is made in two steps, first fermentation and then polymerisation, with a tin catalyst to form chains.
Why? What is the key benefit or motivation of using PLA for food containers?
Toxins in petroleum plastics, such as in Bisphenol-A (BPA), are associated with a variety of ailments including allergies, asthma and immune dysfunction. The trends emerging in this large body of toxicity research are i) causation rather than just correlation, ii) more plastic materials being tied to ailments, iii) at lower concentrations, iv) over a broader age range and v) over a wider range of ailments.
Taste transfer (eg plastic water bottle on a hot day) from plastic to food and drink is avoided with PLA.
How long do the containers last?
Years and years. We’ve been proving these containers for a couple of years and working with this material for five – seeing no discernible changes. We’ve chosen a material that is strong and durable, to craft robust containers. So end of life is a rare event. We advocate long-life over single-use.
Are the containers biodegradable?
Yes. We’ve picked a material that doesn’t fall to bits in your kitchen yet biodegrades at its end of life.
It needs microbes (common in soil) and warmth (60-70oC made by the microbes) to decompose. Turning back to soil takes six months to a couple of years. PLA leaves no residue once decomposed as lactic acid is eaten by microbes. To compost at home ideally use an insulated rotary compost bin.
I’ve got lots of plastic food containers, I’m fine... Or am I?
Twin hazards: i) toxins leach out of many plastics into your food, impacting taste and health, ii) over time powdery particles (microplastics) flake off and accumulate in the body (notably liver and kidneys). If you have plastic containers, we advise decommissioning them from food storage; use for other purposes.
I’ve got lots of glass food containers, I’m fine... Or am I?
Drop a glass storage jar onto a hard floor and four things can follow i) the jar breaks and can’t be repaired, ii) the food in it cannot be salvaged or even safely composted so is wasted, iii) you may damage your feet and iv) damage others. Glass is avoided in many to most commercial kitchens.
I’ve got lots of metal food containers, I’m fine... Or am I?
Tin cans holding food, tend to have a plastic liner layer, and thus suffer from the same toxicity risks as plastic. Older metal containers without the plastic liner suffer from tarnishing and oxidation, and typically taste transfer. Also the lids tend to fall off too easily when dropped, often wasting the contents.
What about recycling?
Even the best plastic recycling systems tend to leak a percentage of their material into the environment. Preferable, is to, over time, decommission plastic, putting it beyond use, so that toxins are reduced. A challenge with recycled plastic is that it invariably comes from a mix of sources, across a range of countries, some with more toxins than others and some with less clarity of what’s in them.
How do you ensure your container products are food safe?
We have sourced the highest quality pure PLA (bar medical grade €1000/Kg used for body implants) from a transparent supply chain. Our PLA is EU-sourced foodsafe and free of genetic material. Our proprietary processes fuse and bond it especially thoroughly into well-sealed vessels. All of our tooling that touches the PLA is again top quality, made transparently in the UK out of pure materials.
What about zero waste?
Over their multi-year life these refill containers can be used to avoid the use of numerous plastic bags and packagings. We’ve ensured that they are lightweight and robust to easily take on your weekly shop. Being long-life they have a major zero-waste impact. At the end of their useful life, if you want, you can even return the container for us, where we can recycle the PLA.