Who Are We?

About

CornWare UK, a UK based company is the sole manufacturer of Origo - a corn starch based bioplastics in the form of disposable tableware and carrier bags. Cornware has not only the capabilities to address the growing concerns of climate change; it is also cost and performance competitive to oil-based plastics and fibers.

Our Philosophy

As responsible stewards of the Earth, we should all live in harmony with the environment in a sustainable manner. CornWare UK believes that we can meet the demands of today without compromising our earth's resource if we stayed true to the ideology of sustainability.

CornWare UK’s responsibility is to continually protect the environment in which it operates, through ensuring both minimal carbon dioxide emission and 100% biodegradability.

Our Mission

We aim to promote environmental responsibility and sustainability, and encourage households and companies to adopt eco-friendly habits as part of our daily lives by offering affordable eco-friendly alternative to disposable tableware.

International Presence

CornWare is in the following countries: USA, UK, India, China, Singapore, Australia, Oman, Cambodia, Myanmar, Solomon Islands, Israel, Russia, Romania, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines. Italy, Philippines and Malaysia.

Advantages

100% biodegradable

After Cornware is used and discarded, and with the correct conditions (temperature, humidity and the presence of microbes), it will biodegrade after 90 days.

Carbon Neutral up to 68%

Cornware products are also up to 68% carbon-neutral when incinerated, reducing the amount of greenhouse gases significantly.

Non-toxic

- Cornware products are toxic free and do not leach harmful substances into the food even at high temperatures.

- After being dumped or incinerated, the waste produced is non-toxic humus waste which can be used as fertilizers.

- When incinerated the gas emitted is also non-toxic.

Thus, Cornware does not have the health hazards associated with the usage of plastic and Styrospork tableware.

Accreditations

Internationally, Origo has been accredited by various recognised organisations and is also ISO certified.

Customisable

Origo, being a versatile material, can be customised into different shapes, sizes and colours of your choice.

Very Affordable

Cornware products are competitive priced compared to other biodegradable and plastic tableware.

  • 100% biodegradable
  • Carbon Neutral up to 68%
  • Microwaveable and freezable
  • Releases 68% less carbon dioxide when incinerated
  • Microwaveable and freezable
  • Can withstand temperatures of -20°C to 150°C
  • Reusable up to 3 times
  • Non-toxic
  • Strong and durable
  • Acid and alkali resistant
  • Oil and water proof

The Process

How is Origo made?

Corn and yam are first made into flour and starch (hence the term starch-based bioplastics). Together with polypropylene (PP), pallets are formed before it is made into Origo. A good percentage (70%) of corn and yam starch blended with PP (30%) forms the basis of Origo

Due to differences in the properties, Cornbag has 40% corn and yam starch and 60% PP. This is still a significant reduction of plastics used compared to pure plastic bags.

PP is added to ensure water-proofing and heat resistance. It also allows Origo to withstand high temperatures. PP is assimilated with the corn and yam starch and thus will fully biodegrade together with the corn and yam.

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Comparison of Common Disposable Tableware Materials

Environmental and Health Information

Introduction

Everyone knows of the kind of damages we are inflicting on our planet. The massive production of plastics and Styrofoam not only depletes our already limited resource of oil, we are also churning out huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, causing global warming which results in worldwide natural disasters such as droughts, flooding and irregular weather patterns. Hurricanes and typhoons may not affect us but our country will not be spared when sea levels rises due to the melting of the polar ice caps.

There are many methods to counter pollution that leads to an increase in CO2. One way is to reduce the production and disposal of plastics. The UK government is currently encouraging recycling and the reduction of the usage of plastic bags. We now have another option: to use bio-plastics instead of pure plastics.

Degradable

Degradation is a process whereby very large molecules are broken into smaller molecules or fragments. Normally, oxygen is incorporated into these molecular fragments. Typically, strong, tough plastic films become weak and brittle as a result of oxidative degradation because the molecules of which the films consist become much smaller. Degradation can be caused by heat or exposure to UV light and is enhanced by mechanical stress. All normal plastics are degradable but it takes a long period of time to do so, normally in excesses of more than 500 years.

Biodegradable

Biodegradation is a process by which microorganisms (microbes such as bacteria, fungi or algae) convert materials into biomass, carbon dioxide and water when left by itself in nature. Meaning to say the material becomes food for the microorganisms to feed on. Hence the extra word "bio" in front of the word "degradable". The main material is non petroleum based in nature and are usually made from plant or animal sources. Examples of biodegradable materials include paper, vegetable scraps and some forms of plastics made from ingredients such as corn starch. These microorganisms speed up the process of degradation which is normally completed from as short as a day to as long as a year.

These products will "disappear" after some time if they are buried in a landfill/compost facility and no toxic residue will be found. They should not be buried too deep down where oxygen is heavily depleted. If the landfill is oxygen deprived (anaerobic), methane - a greenhouse gas with over 62 times the GWP (Global Warming Potential) of carbon dioxide is formed and may do more damage to the environment.

Incinerating these materials can offset the amount of carbon gases released by the amount of carbon dioxide they consume during their life time –that is they are carbon neutral.

Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality is the net amount of carbon dioxide products releases into the atmosphere when incinerated. Incinerating materials made from animal or plant sources can offset the amount of carbon gases released by the amount of carbon dioxide they consume during their life time –that is are carbon neutral.

Bio-plastics, made of natural raw materials, primarily corn and yam starch, are carbon-neutral. This means that the quantity of carbon dioxide released when incinerated is up to 68% less than conventional plastics.

Here’s an example to illustrate the concept of carbon neutrality: A corn plant takes in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. 1 unit of the carbon dioxide is "stored" in the corn. This corn, together with the 1 unit of carbon dioxide, is made into Cornware. When Cornware is incinerated, the same 1 unit of carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere. Thus the net amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has not increased. Plastics, on the other hand, releases new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when burnt, contributing to the greenhouse gases. In addition, no toxic gases are released during burning and the ash that is produced is non-toxic. It will not cause land and water pollution when it is eventually dumped in a landfill or sea.

To understand carbon neutrality fully we need a Life Cycle Assessments of these products to have a better understanding of the net amount of carbon dioxide the products releases into the atmosphere - since transportation and production of these materials use energy and thus releases carbon dioxide as well.

Quick facts:

CO2 emissions: 1kg of plastic emits 3.4kg of CO2 when incinerated compared to 1.14 kg of net CO2 emissions when Origo is burnt.

Energy used: 1 kg of plastic uses 85.9 mega joules of energy when burnt. 1 kg of Origo used 25.4 mega joules of energy when burnt.

Food Shortage

The shortage of corn can contribute to the burden of world hunger. How do we reconcile this pressing issue?

Hunger is a social disease linked to poverty, and thus any discussion of hunger is incomplete without a discussion of economics. If we're going to speak meaningfully about hunger, we need to understand the true causes of hunger. For example, hunger is not caused by shortage of food. According to international statistics, the world's farmers produce 4.3 pounds of food per person, per day. This includes vegetables, cereals, fish, meat, and grains.

People are hungry because they are too poor to buy food. There is a shortage of purchasing power, not a shortage of food.

To put it simply, our Earth generates enough food for all, but sad to say, it’s the interplay of economic forces and politics that decides who gets more, less or none. It is not a question of whether we have enough food or how we deal with them, it is a question of how we can distribute the right food, at the right time to the right people, and be it regionally or internationally.

In recent years, there has been the issue of food shortages around the world and some people question the use of edible crops for the manufacture of these bio-plastics. However, the corn that we use, which is the main ingredient of Origo, is grown specially for the purpose of making Cornware products. You can rest assure that each time you use Origo products, you are not contributing to the global food shortage problem.

Other Competition Green Packaging

Packaging Polylactic Acid (PLA)

PLA is a biodegradable thermoplastic derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch or sugarcanes. Such plastics are made from 100% plant based materials and fully compostable, however, they cannot withstand temperatures above 60 degrees C and the price is 3 to 5 times more expensive than starch based bio-plastics like Origo.

Oxo / Hydro degradable.

Does not undergo the same process as biodegradability as certain additives or chemicals are added into the compositional makeup of the plastic material to speed up the process of degradation. The degradation is not biological but chemical degradation by oxidation and hydrolysis for oxo- and hydro-biodegradable plastics respectively.

The main material is still petroleum based plastics and the extent of the degradation process really depends on the amount of additives added. The more additives added, the faster the degradation, the more expensive the product. It can never be as cheap as normal plastics. If the product is as cheap as normal petroleum plastics, then the amount of additives is very little and the product is like normal plastic.

Several companies are greenwashing their so called oxo or hydro degradable product using this unethical method of adding very little additives and hoping to gain a premium on their otherwise ordinary everyday plastic material. Upon burial of these products, toxic wastes are produced and these can do further damage to the environment.

Paper

Paper is considered a good alternative to plastics or Styrofoam provided it carries the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo. The non-profit Forest Stewardship Council has established an international certification program, based on standards developed from the input of many interested parties such as forest managers and owners, consumers, environmental groups, scientists, indigenous peoples, and union representatives. The certification process not only looks at the forests themselves, but tracks each step in the supply path from the forest through pulp and paper manufacturing to distribution and sales. In this way, it is possible to be reasonably certain that a given product contains fiber that comes only from sustainably managed forests and has not displaced indigenous peoples or destroyed their livelihoods.

Prices of papers can be understood in this order:

1. Virgin fiber - cheapest as mostly from unsustainable backgrounds or illegal logging.

2. FSC certified grade - slightly more expensive than virgin fiber.

3. Recycled Paper - expensive because of expensive recycling methods and hence lack of market demand.

4. "Tree Free Paper” - very expensive paper does not have to come from wood pulp. Fibers from hemp, kenaf, flax, cotton, banana stalks, and other plant-based materials can be used to produce paper with fewer chemicals and less energy.

Papers (even tree-free ones) are often bleached with chlorine or chlorine derivatives that form dioxin, a known carcinogen (cancer causing) and other compounds that pollute local air and water supplies. This bleaching is necessary to whiten the paper for aesthetic effects. Look for products labelled either Processed Chlorine Free (PCF) or Totally Chlorine Free (TCF).

As the production of paper usually involves the unethical disposal of waste water into the environment, it is important the paper producing plant is certified under the ISO 14001 (EMS) standard. An EMS is a systematic approach to dealing with the environmental aspects of an organisation. It is a tool that enables the organisation to control the impact of its activities, products or services on the environment. There is no meaning at all if the plant pollutes the environment whilst producing a supposedly Green product.