8% of the worlds annual petroleum production is converted into making plastics. Most plastics produced for packaging FMCG are not recyclable. Only 14% of plastic packaging gets collected for recycling and only 5% of all plastic is reintroduced to the production cycle.
There’s a growing need for designing new materials that can replace the plastic we can’t (and don’t) recycle. The new materials need to have all the positive aspects of plastic — durable, lightweight, cheap — and replace all the negative ones — made from fossil fuels, non-recyclable, and non-biodegradable.
Indonesia based company Evoware produces eco-friendly, bio-degradable and even edible packaging solutions. Their packaging is seaweed-based which means it dissolves in warm water, is 100% biodegradable and it’s not only safe to eat it also contains good fibres, vitamins, and minerals naturally found in seaweed. And despite being edible and biodegradable Evoware’s products have a 2-year shelf life.
NUATAN is “made out of 100% raw renewable resources, polymerised from corn starch and metabolised by microorganisms, and it is compostable”. It also supposedly has a lifespan up to 15 years and can withstand temperatures up to 110 degrees Celsius.
The main problem of bioplastics: they’re produced in small quantities and mostly on demand. The cost of production is higher than traditional, planet-destroying plastic thus it’s challenging to break into the very established production cycles.
The Guardian announced their switch to a potato starch-based plastic alternative for the packaging of their print edition. The packaging is completely biodegradable and dissolves within six weeks. Lego launched sustainable bricks made from a plant-based plastic sourced from sugarcane.
Plastics Recycling – Advantages and Disadvantages
In the grand scheme of things these steps are quite minuscule and some might deem them frivolous, but if we keep sitting and waiting (and writing) for the ‘big’ change it’s highly unlikely to come out of nowhere..
- Could Seaweed Revolutionise the Bioplastics Sector?
- Bioplastics Makes it to the London Design Festival
- The Guardian Goes Bioplastics