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bioplastic

5 misconceptions about the plastic impact

Plastic is a very visible, tangible problem. Stand in the confectionary aisle, or the chilled aisle – any but the fresh produce aisle – and it’s easy to think that the main problem with all those items is the plastic packaging. Plastic is a huge issue. By 2050 there may be more plastic in the oceans than fish. But the truth is that, looking around the supermarket shelves, the largest environmental impact is more likely to come from inside the ...
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We love single-use plastic bans

We support the single-use plastic bans that are being discussed and enforced around the world. Their goal is to reduce plastic pollution and the unsustainable use of fossil fuel to make packaging. Single-use plastic bans are a great way to speed up the transition towards a circular economy. The first state in Australia … South Australia is the first state in Australia to pass a single-use plastic ban. In this momentous move, they are tackling plastic waste in the foodservice ...
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Bioplastic myths busted

Bioplastics, PLA-lined coffee cups and compostable packaging have been in the spotlight with much confusion surrounding their end-of-life and what they are. While it’s great to see bioplastics in the media, the inaccurate reporting is confusing consumers and underestimating the potential benefit these materials can have in diverting organic waste from landfill cleaning up recycling streams and reducing the amount of plastic polluting the world’s oceans. In this article, I will debunk 10 of these myths and misconceptions about bioplastics. ...
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What is PLA bioplastic?

Polylactic acid (PLA): the environmentally responsible plastic What is PLA bioplastic? Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) is a polyester derived from renewable biomass, typically from fermented plant starch, such as corn, cassava, sugarcane, or sugar beet pulp. How is PLA produced? PLA is a polyester (polymer containing the ester group) made with two possible monomers or building blocks: lactic acid, and lactide. Lactic acid can be produced by the bacterial fermentation of a carbohydrate source under controlled conditions. In the ...
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Biodegradable: Not the be-all and end-all

You might be walking through the supermarket and see the words ‘biodegradable’, ‘degradable’, or ‘compostable’ on a faux-plastic item. It might be rubbish bags or cling wrap. That’s good, right? These materials are good for the earth! Not necessarily. Here, we explain the difference between compostable, biodegradable, and degradable, and why the names can be misleading. Compostable Compostable plastic is capable of biological decomposition in a compost site. Most international standards require the material to biodegrade 60% in 180 days, ...
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Revisiting eco-materials

So many different plant-based products are floating around the market. But how do you know what you’re actually using, and why you should use one over the other? Here we provide brief profiles for several common materials, so you can understand what you’re buying. Sugarcane bagasse/pulp Sugarcane bagasse is the dry fibrous residue left over once sugarcane stalks are crushed and the juice extracted for sugar manufacturing. Because the fibres are already crushed, we need less energy to make products ...
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Plastic: From birth to bans

Plastic was, at first, invented to stop the slaughter of elephants. Elephant tusks were in high demand for ivory-based billiard balls – and to stop poaching of elephants, a new material was needed. But it has gone from a marvel to a menace, in a way few could have foreseen. The birth of plastic The first successful plastic, celluloid, was made in 1869. However, it wasn’t until the end of World War II that plastic became widespread and ubiquitous – ...
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Paper cup recycling – the tip of the iceberg

The disposable coffee cup has become the symbol – the ‘poster child’, if you will – of the piles of waste our society produces. And – unlike plastic straws and cutlery – single-use cups are harder to ban, simply because not everyone has their reusable cup on them 24/7. Reusable cups are certainly the most responsible option, but they are not always practical or convenient. The problem Globally, it is estimated that we use 487 billion disposable coffee cups a ...
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Home vs commercial composting

Composting – the natural process of biological decomposition by fungi, bacteria, insects, worms, and other organisms – produces a nutrient-rich material that can be used to grow crops for human consumptions. Successful composting must be relatively quick, safe, and clean, which is achieved through managing the decomposition process. Composting organic food – and packaging – allows us to divert waste from landfill and return valuable nutrients back into the soil. Composting also eliminates the methane gas that organics emit when ...
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