Biodegradable Plastic and Prohibition on the Use of Plastic, the Alternative Solutions to be Eco-Friendly World 2030

Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable Plastic and Prohibition on the Use of Plastic, the Alternative Solutions to be Eco-Friendly World 2030

Biodegradable Plastic, is a new innovation, whose products are in the form of plastic similar to conventional plastic but do not use polyethylene or polypropylene. Plastic waste is still one of the biggest threats to the survival of marine ecosystems, the flora, and fauna because plastic is often used by almost all types of existing industries, such as the furniture industry, packaging, household appliances, etc. 

According to data from the World Bank, which estimates that major cities in the world currently produce up to 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste annually, this amount will continues to grow to 2.2 billion tons by 2025. Even the United States, one of the highest economies in the world, produced 42 million metric tons of plastic waste in 2016. This is not comparable to their ability to recycle less than 22 percent of the waste it produced. This number includes petroleum-based plastics that are almost impossible to decompose.

The increasing consumption of plastic fibers makes scientists and environmentalists make efforts to find alternatives to plastic as their top priority at this time. Therefore, biodegradable plastic and the prohibition on the use of plastic can be the ways to reduce the use of plastic waste that is difficult to decompose and as a form of responsible production. Curious about biodegradable plastic? What is it made from so that it can be one of the solutions? And what policies have countries taken to reduce the use of plastic? Let’s we take a look to the article below.

Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable Plates
(Source: cpacanada.ca)

Is a plastic that can be used like conventional plastic, but will be broken down by the activity of microorganisms into the final product of water and carbon dioxide gas after being used up and discharged into the environment. Biodegradable plastic is a plastic material that is environmentally friendly because it can return to nature.

The term of “biodegradable” is defined as the ability of the molecular components of a material to be broken down into small molecules by living microorganisms, so that the carbon contained in the material can eventually be returned to the biosphere.

The ingredients of Biodegradable Plastic

Starch
(Source: bakingbusiness.com)

Biodegradable plastic is made from flour, such as cassava flour, potato, and rice, which can be broken down by nature into CO2 and other biomass with the help of microorganisms. Raw materials that can be used for the manufacture of biodegradable plastics are starch, cellulose, and Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). Starch is obtained from plant sources of carbohydrates such as sago, corn, cassava, and sweet potato. Cellulose can be obtained from agricultural wastes such as straw, corn cobs, and pineapple fronds. PLA is the result of fermentation of lactic acid bacteria on a substrate containing sugar.

In comparison, conventional plastic takes about 50-100 years to decompose by nature. While biodegradable plastic can decompose faster.

Also Read: Coral Reefs in Indonesia About 36% Are in Poor Condition, How Do We Respond to This Situation?

Advantages and Benefits of Biodegradable Plastic

Source: logpac.com

  1. Can Be Used as Fertilizer and Animal Feed

The basic ingredients made from plants and other materials that are safe for the environment make this plastic easier to decompose. The results of the decomposition can be made for animal feed and also fertilizer. Fertilizer from this waste can make the soil fertile because the microorganisms in the soil will increase the nutrients from the description of the plastic waste. 

2. Low Toxins 

Usually plastic waste is harmful to the life of living things. In addition to the harmful plastic content, plastic waste is usually very difficult to decompose. However, the breakthrough of biodegradable plastic is actually not harmful to other living things because it does not contain toxins like plastic waste in general. 

3. Not Easy to Melt

This plastic is also usually able to withstand heat much better when compared to plastics on the market. So it is safe for protecting and wrapping food at high temperatures. 

4. Resist Bad Odors

The smells of conventional plastic on the market is sometimes a little annoying. In contrast to plastics in general, biodegradable plastics usually have a low Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) so they are able to withstand unpleasant odors. 

Policies to reduce the use of waste

In addition to the use of biodegradable plastic, there are also several policies that have been implemented by countries in the world to reduce the use of plastic and reduce dependence on plastic bags for the community. The policies and countries are as follows:

Denmark

Has imposed a tax on plastic bags to retail businesses since 1994. In 2003, Denmark imposed a special tax on sellers who provide plastic bags to buyers.

Afrika

The South African country along with a number of countries on the continent such as Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Botswana, Kenya and Ethiopia have imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags. South Africa is the strictest to enforce the ban. Since 2003, retailers caught giving away plastic bags have been fined 100,000 rand (USD 13,800) or up to 10 years in prison. Previously, the use of plastic bags in this country reached 8 billion pieces per year. Now every buyer brings their own bag from their respective homes.

Also Read:  Melbourne, The Sustainable City 2020. The Government’s Strategy to Create A Smart City

Hongkong

Has been campaigning for “No Plastic Bag Day” since 2006, where 30 large retail businesses and a number of NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) joined voluntarily to reduce the use of plastic bags.

Ireland

The Republic of Ireland imposed a tax of 0.15 euros in March 2002 for one plastic bag. This levy on consumers causes 90 percent of consumers to use their own bags when shopping. In 2007, the tax was increased to 0.22 euros. This tax revenue was subsequently included in the Environment Fund.

Singapore

Has been campaigning for “Bring Your Own Bag” since April 2007, and consumers have to pay extra if they want to use plastic bags. The results of the campaign were that on the first day it was able to reduce 100,000 plastic bag usage, sold 200,000 non-plastic bags that can be used repeatedly, and decreased plastic bag consumption by up to 60%.

China

Has imposed sanctions on retail businesses that provide free plastic bags since June 2008.

India

Has implemented a ban on the use of plastic bags and the application of a plastic bag tax on retail businesses since January 2009 as well as standard criteria for the production of plastic bags that are safe for the environment.

Bangladesh

Introduced a strict ban on plastic bags in 2002 after the 1988-1998 floods that submerged two-thirds of its territory. The reason is from plastic bags that are scattered and clog almost all waterways in the area. An official in this country estimates that if Dakha succeeds in removing all plastic bags, the city will become a flood-free zone in the next 10 years.

Australia

Although the country does not ban the use of plastic bags, the states of South Australia and the Northern Territory along with several cities independently prohibit the use of plastic bags. Coles Bay, Tasmania was the first location in Australia to ban the use of plastic bags. The introduction of the ‘Zero Waste‘ program in South Australia led to a ban on lightweight bags in October 2008. This saves 400 million pieces of plastic bags each year.

Mexico

The country has imposed fines on stores that deliver plastic bags to their customers since August 2010. Plastic bags are one of Mexico’s biggest pollution problems.

Italy

Entering 2011, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi issued a law banning shops and supermarkets from using plastic bags. With this rule, Italy became the first European Union country to impose a ban on the use of plastic bags. This step was protested by Britain by accusing this country of making its own rules, because the European Union has not yet expressed a position regarding the ban on plastic bags that are not environmentally friendly.

The European Commission had previously postponed the European Union’s proposal to ban plastic shopping bags for several months. At that time, the European Union had not released non-binding recommendations to its members in this regard.

UK

Though they does not prohibit it, the country has enforced in several large supermarkets to provide special discounts of 1-4 Pounds Sterling for shoppers or consumers who bring their own bags from home.

United States

In July 2013, 17 states and 98 cities across the U.S. enacted laws banning the use of plastic bags. By July 2014, the number had grown to 20 countries and 132 cities meaning about 20 million US citizens now live in areas where plastic bags are banned. The US alone uses 12 million barrels of oil every year to meet the demand for plastic bags. Every year, the US throws away about a hundred billion plastic bags.

Scotland

This country imposes a fine of 5 pence (pound sterling coins) for all bags used in stores both online and offline. In the first ten months, retailers show that single-use bag use has fallen dramatically by around 80 percent since the regulation was introduced on October 20, 2014. Previously, the country spent 750 million plastic bags per year.

Indonesia

The paid plastic bag policy began to be implemented in Indonesia on February 21, 2016 to coincide with the National Waste Care Day. This policy is an effort made by the government to reduce the amount of plastic waste in Indonesia.

Although the The House of Representatives has indeed ratified Law No. 18/2008 regarding Waste Management several years ago, the Ministry of Environment has also issued a Government Regulation regarding waste management with the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This is to demand the responsibility of the producers to the matter of product packaging. Through EPR, it is hoped that people’s behavior in using plastic will gradually change.

Those are some explanations about biodegradable plastic and the policies that have been carried out by countries in the world to help reduce the use of plastic. Hopefully in the future everyone, both producers and consumers will be aware of the dangers of using conventional plastic and switch to using biodegradable plastic for products that can use these materials.

Don’t forget to always maintain cleanliness and reduce the use of plastic because whatever we produce and consume will have an impact on our environment. Therefore, be a person who is always responsible for production and consumption, so that the surrounding environment is  always kept clean and functioning properly. That’s all from this article and see you next time. Zàijiàn!





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