Green Your Packaging

Plastic packaging accounts for the majority of all waste the United States produces, but there are environmentally friendly alternatives to petroleum-based plastics that are biodegradable.

Plastic takes about 1,000 years to decompose. When you consider that the country generates about 14 million tons of plastic packaging and containers every year, you can see it's a big problem, especially when less that 7 percent of it gets recycled.

Now, though, there are some new plastics that are just as strong and work just as well but break down in a fraction of the time it takes for traditional plastic.

While traditional plastic is made from petroleum, the new plastics are made from renewable plant products. Here's how you can tell that your plastic packaging comes from a renewable source.

VIDEO: Polylactic acid is a new biodegradable, recyclable packaging product.Play

Look for the letters PLA, which stands for Polylactic Acid, which means the plastic is made from renewable plant products such as corn, soy, potatoes or sugar. Such plastics take just 30 to 45 days to compost and are 100 percent biodegradable.

Looking for PLA or the 7 in a triangle when you're buying products in plastic packaging is one small step that could help save the earth from being wrapped in plastic itself.

For more information, check out the links below.

Packaging World Magazine