Wrapping up the packaging debate

Wrapping up the packaging debate

Wrapping up the packaging debate 899 603 Process and Control Today

Around 350 tonnes of plastic are produced every year, and more than half of this ends up in the ocean or in the landfill, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). As well as plastic from bottles, packaging or bags, microparticles found in cosmetics, detergents and clothes also end up in the waterways. In the EU alone, 17 tonnes of microparticles are produced annually, the majority of which find their way into the ocean.

To find durable solutions to this imposing issue, many companies globally have committed to replacing plastic, in packaging, and sourcing alternative materials, such as paper. Efforts are being made worldwide to ban such prolific use of plastic, in particular single use plastics, or reduce it. To illustrate, Tesco, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, has vowed to remove all plastic used in ready-meals trays, lids, straws and loose fruit bags for its own label products. This move alone aims to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic from its supply chain by the end of 2020 as the supermarket will switch to paper alternatives instead.

Paper is often lauded as a more sustainable alternative to plastic. Nevertheless, it’s not entirely sustainable. It is commonly believed that paper is more biodegradable and easily recycled. However, when it reaches landfill its degradation rate slows. Furthermore, paper pulp is often treated with chlorine, which adds pollution to the environment. Lastly, an increase in demand for paper packaging impacts further on deforestation, which in turn causes further damage to our ecosystems and lowers the quality of the air we breathe.

Plastic on the other hand benefits from being significantly lighter, a property which makes it more efficient for containing and packaging food and other non-perishable products. However, not all types of plastic are recyclable. When it reaches landfill, it remains for hundreds of years until it degrades. Experts at Teysha Technologies have developed a bioplastic alternative, which uses plants and other biological materials instead of petroleum as its base.

Teysha Technologies has developed a unique, sustainable and cost-efficient bio-polymer that can provide a cost effective and sustainable alternative to conventional plastics or paper packaging. Its manufacturing process is unique in the field of renewables, offering a fully degradable bioplastic, that is proven to degrade faster and more completely than other bioplastics. Teysha’s bioplastic simultaneously avoids the formation of microparticles too. Instead on using a single polymer system, Teysha’s ground-breaking technology incorporates a polycarbonate platform that enables the company to create a variety of polymers with differing tensile strength and protective properties. This opens up significant potential for Teysha’s material to be specifically tuned to create a variety of end products. The pellet can also be used in existing production lines so doesn’t require big capital investment in new infrastructure.

While reducing and recycling packaging is essential, we should also rethink our understanding of plastic and its potential. Teysha Technologies might have just the right answer when it comes to the plastic dilemma. Their innovative materials provide fully biodegradable alternatives to conventional plastic packaging or alternative materials such as paper. It is clear that the environmental disaster caused by plastic pollution cannot be reversed overnight. However, its consequences can be mitigated, and wiser strategies advanced to fully resolve the wrapping debate.

To find out more about Teysha’s  efforts to produce fully degradable and sustainable bioplastic, check out their website here.

Source: Process and Control Today