Plastic is Fantastic!
Plastics have gained a unique position in the packaging industry and has introduced new improved methods of packaging goods. Infact 40% of plastic material worldwide are used in packaging applications. Plastics are used for packaging of cosmetics, toiletries and host of other consumable products of daily and special purpose use. Almost every article of day to day use that we may lay hands on is either a plastic or has plastic components in it.
All this is possible due to :
- Safe & Hygienic â€“ Inert and Chemical Resistance
- Light Weight & Non-Breakability
- Excellent Barrier Properties – Enhancing Shelf-life
- Superior Impact Resistance
- Sterilizable and resistance to bacterial and other microbial growth
- Pilfer proof packaging
- Energy Efficient
- Transparency as well as Opacity
All this a relatively cheaper price than next alternatives such as glass, paper, jute, cloth.
However, the problem identified by governments and NGOs around the world is that plastic does last rather too long if it gets into the environment and especially in the oceans. Plastics are blamed for a series of Health, Safety and Environmental problems. Plastic films are usually discarded after single use, and finally find their way to the municipal burial sites where they refuse to degrade because of their high molecular weight and absence of hydrophilic functionalities. It has been estimated that it polyethylene biodegrades less than 0.5% in 100 years and about 1% if pre-exposed to sunlight for 2 years.
Plastic Carry Bags and Health & Safety issues
Plastics being inert in nature do not pose any health hazard. All plastics in general meet the requirement of both national and international standards like BIS, FDA etc. Specific standards for plastic packaging used in food contact items have been laid down by national and international regulatory bodies. Plastic carry bags are generally made of polyethylene â€“ The material used for packaging of liquid milk, pharmaceutical tablets, intra venous liquid bottles and in the packaging of scores of ready to eat or drink food items. Use of polyethylene in contact with foodstuffs, pharmaceutical products and drinking water is permissible as per specifications laid down in Indian Standard IS 10141- 2001 / IS 10146-1982, etc.
So, why not we make plastic degradable after its safe service life? 100 degree additives can accelerate degradation time period of plastic by multiple times to make plastic biodegradable after its use.
We can classify plastics as :
- Durables (furniture, appliances)
- Non durables (utensils, trash bags, diapers, medical equipments)
- Packaging (bottles, shopping bags)
Single use plastics belong to non-durables and packaging group. One major potential application of degradable plastic is in single use plastic.
Plastic vs Paper
- Plastic carry bag generate 60% less GHG emission than uncomposted paper bags
- Plastics consume 40% less energy during production than paper bags
- Plastics generate 80% less solid waste after use than paper bags
- Paper sacks generate 50 times more water pollutant than plastic bags
Three R’s for the environment are a very well know facts. Calco believes that it takes more than three R’s to make a successful plastic waste management
Reducing the pollutants in the environment by using right disposal medium.
All plastics which are easily collected and hygienic for next use, should be used.
There is nothing better than reusing plastic packaging till its useful shelf life.
Plastics which are difficult to recycle or reuse should be removed from the environment by biodegradation process using 100 degree additive.