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Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience

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Biodegradable Packaging

The first photo is day 1, Traditional Yerba Mate bag on top of the soil:  June 21st, 2008 

Day 40:  July 30th, 2008

Day 120:  October 19'th, 2008

Day 150:  November 21'st, 2008

The material is very soft and shreds in your fingers.  The product has not been agitated for 150 days, just sitting in the soil under normal Northern California conditions.

New Biodedgradable Packages
Our new metalized bags are made entirely of biodegradable and compostable materials.  The bags will compost in your home compost or landfill in 180 days. 

The packages are made from renewable, non G.M.O. wood-pulp sourced from plantations employing Sustainable Forestry Management Principles, who conform to the environmental standard I.S.O. 14,000 and have either achieved or are working towards F.S.C.  Printed with water based inks.

Is the Bio Bag’s packaging technology new?
Although cellophane and aluminum metallized films are not a new packaging concept, the process for producing metallized cellulose films that are compostable and biodegradable and that have the ability to be strong and flexible is truly groundbreaking.  Guayakí is on the the ground floor of pioneering this packaging.

Why do the Guayakí Bio-Bags use NatureFlex Films?
Cellulose film is the oldest transparent packaging product.  First marketed in the U.S. in the 1920’s as cellophane, it was the most popular packaging film used until the 1960’s when polyolefin based products began to dominate the packaging market for a variety of reasons.  In the more environmentally-conscious marketplace of today, cellulose film is returning to popularity because it is on average 94% from renewable raw materials.  Unlike the man-made polymers in plastics, which are largely derived from petroleum, cellulose films are manufactured from a natural polymer, cellulose, which is a component of plants and trees.  The raw material for NatureFlex, the cellulose film that Guayakí is using, is a renewable wood-pulp sourced exclusively from plantations following sustainable forestry principles.

Why do the Guayakí Bio-Bags use aluminum?
Aluminum has been used since Roman and Greek times in various forms, and is used today in a wide variety of packaging materials.  This metal acts as a very effective barrier to light, oxygen, odors, flavors, moisture, and bacteria.  The new Guayakí bags are designed to provide the freshness benefits of an aluminum barrier, using the absolute minimum amount of metal necessary.  The NatureFlex film used by Guayakí is the only metallized biodegradable film suitable for home composting because the level of metal is miniscule, less than 0.02% of the bag by overall composition. The ultra-thin layer is only a few atoms of aluminum thick, as opposed to the much thicker 180 ml sheets that are used by most companies. 

How is NatureFlex made?
Cellulose film is made by digesting wood in a series of chemical processes that remove impurities and break the long fiber chains in the raw material. Regenerated via extrusion of a dissolved cellulose liquid as a clear, shiny film, with plasticizing chemicals added for flexibility, cellulose film is still comprised largely of cross-linked cellulose molecules. This means that it can be broken down by micro-organisms in the soil just as leaves and plants are.

How are the Guayakí Bio-Bags Biodegradable and Compostable?
Tests have shown that the average total time for complete bio-degradation of cellulose film is from 28 to 60 days for uncoated products, and from 80 to 120 days for coated cellulose products like the ones we use. In lake water, the rate of bio-degradation is 10 days for uncoated film and 30 days for coated cellulose film. Even materials which are thought of as highly degradable, like paper and green leaves, take longer to degrade than cellulose film products.  Conversely, plastics, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyethylene, polyethylene terepthatlate (PET), and oriented-polypropylene (BOPP) show almost no sign of degradation after long periods of incorporation in soil.

In the Earth's crust, aluminum is the most abundant (8.13%) metallic element, and the third most abundant of all elements (after oxygen and silicon). However, because of its strong affinity for oxygen, it is almost never found in the elemental state; instead it is found in oxides or silicates.  In the decomposition process for the Bio-Bags, the ultra-thin coating of aluminum oxidizes and turns into aluminum oxide which is non toxic.

All NatureFlex films are fully FDA & EU direct food contact approved and certified compostable to the ASTM 6400 and EN-13432 standards.  A small amount of fossil-based polymer is used in the process in order to provide the required functional properties such as moisture barrier and sealability.  Renewability tests conducted in accordance with ASTM 6866 show that NatureFlex films are certified 94% bio-based, with the remainder being fossil-based carbon.