Bioplastics: the solution to India’s plastic pollution woes?
Headquartered in Plastobag Industries, he recalls the events that prompted him to make biodegradable plastics.
One day in 2011, when he entered his home, his 12-year-
The old daughter, who had just learned about the environmental problems of plastic, scolded her father and said, \"Dad, you have polluted the whole city. ” That made Mr.
Ashfaq wants to do something that makes his daughter proud, he said.
The research he started that year eventually led to the commercial production of the ecosystem.
At the beginning of 2018, friendly plastics were produced in his factory.
Today, he says, 35% of his products, or even more than the third, are biodegradable.
Plastobag is one of 16 companies in India that have obtained permission from the Central Pollution Control Commission to produce bio-plastics. (
The \"bio-plastic\" used here refers to biodegradable, although it has other meanings).
Between them, these manufacturers produce tote bags, cutlery, film, food containers and bin liners.
Unlike traditional plastics, these items can be decomposed by microorganisms in industrial composting facilities within six months.
This makes them a promising, if partial, solution to the plastic problem in India.
However, these companies face huge challenges in finding customers.
Because most of the bio-plastics produced globally are made from by-products of food crops, they are expensive.
Compared to conventional plastics, the cost of a bio-plastic tote bag is almost three times that of fossil fuels.
Only a few municipal companies have imposed a 2016 nationwide ban on traditional plastic handbags with a thickness of less than 50 microns, and most have no financial reason to change.
The second obstacle for biological plastics to realize its ecology
The friendly purpose is that most of them need to be treated with industrial composting facilities.
But most cities lack a sufficient number of such facilities.
This means that bio-plastic will eventually appear on the street and damage the environment like normal plastic.
Bio-plastics can be made from dozens of different raw materials.
Take one of the most common bio-plastics currently used as an example
Lactic acid (PLA).
Companies like BASF, Germany and the United StatesS. -
Starch synthesis PLA based on Natureworks extracted from grain crops such as corn and cassava.
Indian companies then import this PLA, which mixes it with other ingredients and makes it into a tote bag, bin liner or cutlery.
Polyester or PHA is another raw material that is synthesized by allowing bacteria to take sugar from vegetable oil or grain crops as raw materials.
Dependence on food crops poses a key challenge for bio-plastics, because these crops are not costs at all
Competitive alternatives to fossil fuels.
According to 2017 reports from Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, the cost of the PLA in 2016 was 2 euros per kilogram, the traditional low
Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
The fee is between 1,250 euros.
1,450 per ton1,000 kg)that year.
In addition to the huge difference in cost, the factory-
Food made of plasticversus-
Fuel debate that has been plaguing biofuels.
\"You can\'t turn food crops to bio-plastics because it can lead to a food crisis . \"S. G.
Krishnan, College of plastic science and technology at CIET in bubaneswar.
If food crops are already an expensive way to make plastic, it should be acknowledged that almost all raw materials for bio-plastics, such as PLA particles, are imported today by Indian manufacturers.
\"It\'s from Europe,\" he said . \"Ashfaq.
\"China is also a huge seller of compostable plastics.
\"This means that import tariffs and shipping costs are attached to the already high price of raw materials.
However, the price difference between bio-plastic and traditional plastic is expected to shrink in the coming years.
The local production of raw materials by Indian enterprises is a driving factor.
In Ahmadinejad, for example-
Greendiamz Biotech, which has been producing bioplastics since 2009, said it will start producing raw materials from next year.
\"Hopefully we can start production by the end of 2019,\" said Deepak Sanghvi, founder of Greendiamz . \".
Another company, Bangladesh-
Based on Envigreen, has gone further and patented its own technology for starch
The company\'s founder, Ashwath hegede, said the material was made from tapioca starch and vegetable oil and was not just compostable.
This means that it does not require industrial compost conditions and will break down even under normal conditions.
In fact, the version of the product is dissolved in hot water and cold water respectively. Mr.
Hegde plans to supply this raw material to Indian plastic manufacturers, many of whom lost their business after banning thin handbags in 2016.
\"Many companies have closed due to the plastic ban.
We focus on providing them with the technology and raw materials to produce products, \"he said.
He said that the advantage of making raw materials locally is reflected in his price, which is one of the lowest prices in India today.
As he works with more companies in the coming year and expands production, Envigreen\'s raw material costs will be lower, he said.
In the world, it is expected that the wave of innovation will also reduce the cost of raw materials.
The most important innovation is to use non-food crops.
For example, the United StatesS. -
Based on Renmatix, a cheap method using biomass willow, willow switch and even sawdust as raw material was developed.
Another US full-cycle bio-plastics company said it has developed a technology to synthesize PLA from organic mixtureswaste.
Today, the most promising raw material is algae that are found in seawater.
Similarly, many groups are working to resolve the issue.
Just this month, a team at Tel Aviv University in Israel published a paper on biological resource technology describing a method for extracting PHA from microorganisms that eat seaweed.
To be sure, these \"second-
\"Third generation\" and \"third generation\"
The raw materials known as the \"generation\" are ready for business --Use scales today.
But it will be in a few years, says gutham.
Responsible for market strategy at Ecolife LLC in Chennai
Bio-plastic company that provides packaging materials for garment exporters.
These innovations will promote the expansion of the global bio-plastic industry in four aspects.
2 million tons to 6 tons.
The German Nova Institute estimates 1 million tons in 2021.
Many innovations are policy-driven, such as the EU\'s 2015 circular economy action plan.
Given the high cost and technical barriers facing the bio-plastics industry, it is unlikely to take off on its own.
Bioplastics manufacturers say this means that it is unlikely that India will see similar growth if it does not follow its own policies.
On the wish list are subsidies for electricity consumption, lower tax rates for goods and services, and lower import taxes.
\"Without that, production will not rise, costs will not fall, and big companies will not enter India.
There will be no future for bio-plastics . \"Sanghvi.
Municipalities can also play an important role.
They have to build a Compost Infrastructure and enforce the ban more rigorously, rather than taking it back under public pressure.
This will push up demand, he said, which is a key driver of industry efficiency. Goutham.
\"Bio-plastic manufacturing is a quantity game,\" he added . \".
Since some bio-plastic applications require less material in nature, a small push can result in huge cost savings.
Take the film as an example-
In order to save water and curb weeds, large areas of conventional plastic are covered on the farm.
The traditional plastic film is usually very thick so that farmers can peel off after use.
But a report from the University of Wageningen shows that if the bio-plastic films can be broken down in place, they can be very thin.
In addition, there is no need to peel off the film to save labor costs.
In India, bio-plastic handbags are also exempted from the 50 micron rule.
They are allowed to lose weight because it will allow them to break down faster.
These factors can, at least in some cases, reduce the price of bio-plastics.
For these reasons, there are reasons for expanding the use of bio-plastics globally and in India.
Today, only 2% of global plastic production is biological.
According to data from Lux Research in the United States.
However, experts warned that although bio-plastic is useful, it is not a panacea for pollution control.
This is because the key culprit today is that people lack awareness and they do not isolate waste.
If a large number of discarded plastics are properly recycled today, they will not cause harm to the environment in the first place.
For most bioplastics, the industrial composting facility is fast to degrade, but it will take several years in the natural environment.
\"You might think it\'s a bio-plastic and keep littering.
But it will still remain in the environment if not for centuries, and then it will last for a few years.
\"It will still clog the drain,\" said Dr. CIET . \"Krishnan.