What Does the Future Hold for Plastics?
Even though plastics are workhorse material in most industries yet they have made a
bad name for themselves for two reasons. One, it is made from petroleum materials and
secondly, they litter the environment. However, the volatile nature of oil price has
instigated a clamor for an increase in research into bioplastics. A key driver of the
packaging industry currently is the replacement of oil-based plastics to a renewable
source due to the depletion of oil.
Bioplastics currently account for around 1% of total world consumption of plastics.
Despite the low figure, the need and request for renewable, non-composite, durable and
recyclable product is increasing by the day. All this coupled with the fluctuation of oil
price and interest in social responsibility is taking research from the drawing board into
the laboratories and an expected mass production of bioplastics in the future.
One issue that has affected the spiral growth of bioplastics is the fear of individuals on
the price of food. Many bioplastics rely on food to make ethanol, this may end up driving
up the price of food. The masses are afraid that using food crops for bioplastics might
take the food out of their mouth as they cannot match the financial superiority of the
companies. However, experts are countering this claim neglecting that perception is not
The future of plastics is hinged heavily on bioplastics. Even the automobile industry is
moving away from non-renewable sources and the packaging industry will never be left
Importance of Biodegradable Packaging Materials To The Environment
The concept about climate change has been a popular topic for discussion across the globe. Now, it seems as if virtually everyone has basic knowledge about the harmful effects of environmental breakdown.
More and more people are shifting attention to eco-friendly means so as to get their work done without tampering with Mother Nature. Nonetheless, your efforts would yield no meaningful results if you don’t know the right step to take.
Now more than ever, people are turning to biodegradable packaging materials because of its immense benefits it brings to the environment. Below are some of the benefits of using biodegradable packaging material.
Breaks down faster
Biodegradable packaging products breaks downs much faster when compared to other solid materials. Since it decomposes a lot faster than other alternatives, it allows for a more sustainable environment.
Another benefit of biodegradable product is its cost-effectiveness. Disposing waste even after recycling is a total loss moneywise. Due to the organic nature of biodegradable products, it leaves no waste behind. This way, you save money required to dispose the remnants.
Biodegradable packaging is usually manufactured from Bioplastics which has no harmful effect on the environment. Essentially, bioplastics are a form of plastic derived from sources such as soy bean oil, corn starch and hemp oil. Moreover, this organic compound is completely
Other amazing benefits of biodegradable packaging include the following: energy efficient, nontoxic, and reduces environmental pollution.
What’s more, bioplastics is mostly popular in packaging. Furthermore, biodegradable packaging is commonly used in shopping bags, containers for dairy products and fruit, trays, soft drink bottles, meat packaging and much more.
Biodegradable packaging materials are proven and tested to be helpful to not only the environment, but also the human race. Hence, it is expedient to have a perfect understanding about biodegradable packaging material.
The quest for sustainable packaging has been the buzzword over the last decade. This is largely driven by public perception, retailers’ requirements, economic policies and government legislation.
Sustainability is more than just the mode of production, it affects the choice of raw material to the end of life of the packaging. The debate into sustainable package has revealed few things; top of which is the absence of a total sustainable package. Here are the top three tips that should guide you implementing sustainable packaging;
- Life-cycle Approach to Packaging
Package designers should utilize the availability of numerous Life Cycle Assessment tools. It should be used in understanding the effects of each packaging option chosen. Pick one of this growing number of sustainable metrics tools and stick with it. Be consistent in the use and focus on the core environmental goals of your company.
- Assess Component Parts Individually
You should constantly find answers to questions about the possibility of using fewer materials in the packaging without compromising product integrity and quality. There are already different technology that supportsuse of lesser materials. Try and be innovative with materials for caps, labels, and containers, ensure you are improving on your package to product ratio.
- Seek Opportunities to Make Packaging Reusable.
Reusability of packaging materials is one route that guarantees sustainable packaging. In 2010, KFC introduced reusable containers. PUMA also adopted this method by reducing the use of paper by 65%. These two examples are examples of product usability that is encouraged in the industry.
Bioplastics have emerged as an essential stratum of the bioeconomy with a value of 2 trillion Euros in annual turnover and provides close to 22 million jobs in Europe alone. In the United States, the industry is worth close to $680 million with an expected increase in coming years.
Bioplastics are products of agricultural by-products derived from renewable biomass sources e.g. vegetable fats and oil, microbiotal or corn starch. When biodegraded, many bioplastics also release carbon dioxide or monoxide though with less environmental hazard to that of conventional plastics.
The development of bioplastic is nonetheless to serve as alternative for conventional plastics whose problems include inability to decompose easily, contribution to pollution and landfill, expensive to produce, presence of toxic chemical (such as BPA) as well as large carbon deposit both in production and recycling.The ability of bioplastics to replace and prevent the side effects associated with conventional plastics however suggests that bioplastics is easily decomposed within a short period of time; it is less polluting, cheap to produce and maintain, free of toxic chemicals like BPA and as well with lower carbon deposits either during production or recycling.
No one could really predict the future of bioplastics, but on a large scale as being carried out by Coca-Cola, bioplastics should lead to efficiency. In reality, bioplastics are not 100% eco-friendly, its production requires increased energy which in turn leads to environmental pollution. In summary, bioplastics can bring about sustainability but is not a cure for plastic problem facing planet Earth.