Could Plant-based Plastics Help Tackle Waste Pollution?

Plastic waste is a big problem for the planet, the oceans are becoming clogged and we are rapidly running out of landfill sites, only 9% of plastic is recycled. Burning plastic waste contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

The reliance on plastics has grown year on year. It is hardwearing and versatile and much of our modern economy depends on it. There are simply no current commercially viable biodegradable alternatives for many common uses.

Takeaway coffee cups are one example of persistent plastic waste. In the UK alone we throw away around 2.5 billion of them every year, with the impression that they are recyclable when they’re not. This is due to a layer of polyethylene that makes the cup waterproof.

One company trying to change this is Biome Bioplastics, which has developed a fully compostable and recyclable cup using natural materials such as potato starch, corn starch, and cellulose; the main constituent of plant cell walls. Most traditional plastics are made from oil. The company has created a plant-based plastic called a bioplastic that is fully biodegradable and also disposable either in a paper recycling or food waste bin.

The chief executive of Biome Bioplastics believes it’s the first time a bioplastic has been made for disposable cups and lids that can cope with hot liquids which is fully compostable and recyclable. The cup isn’t yet on the market but the company is in talks with several retailers.

It’s not feasible to get rid of plastics completely but is this a good alternative which will contribute to reducing the waste we generate.

(Source: BBC News)

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