Could plant-based plastics help tackle waste pollution?

12/02/2018News

We know that plastic waste is a big problem for the planet – our oceans are becoming clogged with the stuff and we’re rapidly running out of landfill sites with 9% only recycled. Burning it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. So could plant-based alternatives and better recycling provide an answer?

We have grown to rely on plastic – it’s hardwearing and versatile and much of our modern economy depends on it. And for many current uses, there are simply no commercially viable biodegradable alternatives.

The humble single-use drinking straw is a case in point. Primaplast, a leading plastic straw manufacturer, says “greener” alternatives cost a hundred times more to make.

Are we stuck with plastic straws?

Takeaway coffee cups are another example. We throw away around 2.5 billion in the UK alone of them every year, many of us thinking that they are recyclable when they’re not, due to a layer of polyethylene that makes the cup waterproof.

Biome Bioplastics is trying to change this is, they have 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.

 

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Source BBC, by  Suzanne Bearne