Waste management continues to be a significant challenge for businesses and communities, especially in urban centres. In an attempt to reduce non-biodegradable plastics, innovations have come up with an alternative. Bioplastics are plastics made from organic sources like vegetable oils or corn. However, they differ in make-up depending on the use. For example, materials used to make disposable cutlery and bioplastic containers vary from the electronic casings. The sources are renewable and take a shorter time to decompose fully. Although not all bioplastics are biodegradable, they constitute a significant improvement from traditional plastics. These plastics are useful in making disposable grocery bags, containers and bottles. Using these degradable products have many benefits for consumers and wider environmental goals.
Traditional plastics undergo recycling and the remainder piles up in landfills and the ocean. The materials used to produce plastics are toxic and carcinogenic. They are a significant cause of pollution and threaten sea life. They take hundreds of years to break down. The biodegradable plastics are made from natural, plant materials which upon exposure to certain conditions undergo a chemical reaction that breaks down the materials quickly. Therefore, they decompose within months depending on the composition of the plastic. Using bioplastic cups and take away containers in hotels and cafes reduces waste significantly. Although not all degradable plastics decompose, any reduction of waste reduces pressure on the landfills and water bodies.
Conservation of Non-Renewable Energy
Traditional plastics are made by heating oil into polymers. The amount of petroleum used in the process is significant considering that oil is a non-renewable source of energy. As earlier mentioned, bioplastics are made from natural renewable sources. These sources, including vegetable oils and fats, corn, and sugarcane are grown. Sometimes the biomaterials mix with plastics for additional strength. The small percentage of renewable energy sources conserves petroleum. The development of PLA (Polyhydroxyalkanoate) or PLA (Polylactic acid) is an excellent achievement in biotechnology. These plastics are degradable and are equally as strong as the conventional plastics. The global community is celebrating any effort to reduce usage of non-renewable energy sources.
Reducing Carbon Footprint
Eco-friendly plastics produce less carbon dioxide during production, unlike traditional plastics. Carbon footprint often depends on the ability of the plastic to store carbon absorbed from the air by the plant. When making plastic from a biological source, the carbon dioxide is present due to photosynthesis. Usually, the plastic will degrade back to carbon dioxide and water. However, the eco-friendly packaging is made to be strong like traditional plastics and, if sent to landfill will store the carbon forever.
The Taste and Flavour Does Not Change
These eco-friendly takeaway coffee cups have less likelihood of interfering with the flavour of the milk or coffee. Conventional plastics may impart a different taste. For example, milk will acquire a different taste in a styrene cup. The permeability of the bioplastic packaging can be beneficial to some food products.
The method of packaging is a significant decision for food producers. They need to be cautious about the environment while ensuring the food remains safe for human consumption. They need to be keen on waste management. Take away cups can be a source of litter if people are not aware of how to dispose of the waste. The use of environmentally friendly packaging is fundamental in building a sustainable world economy.