Every year, about 300 million tons of plastic waste is discharged into the environment around the world. In Vietnam alone, the amount of waste accounts for about 1.8 million tons of plastic waste, most of it being plastic bags. Directly affect the quality of life and human health along with other living species.
Facing these consequences, many countries have policies to limit the use of single-use plastic products and pay more attention to the use of green products in life. In particular, biodegradable products such as bioplastics made from wheat starch (PLA), have been applied in life.
1. What is tapioca starch bioplastic?
Tapioca starch bioplastic is a flexible bioplastic derived from plants, mainly tapioca starch, commonly known as PLA bioplastic. With the appearance and way of operation of PET and polypropylene, it will be difficult to distinguish with the naked eye from traditional plastic. Moreover, it has a short decomposition time of only a few months or a few years. It brings a lot of positive effects on the environment.
2. Advantages of Tapioca Starch Biodegradable Plastic Granules
• Environmental benefits
According to NatureWorks, a company specializing in the production of bioplastics in the US, plastic production in the US has said PLA plastic production saves two-thirds of energy compared to conventional production. Therefore, it saves the exhausting petroleum energy resources. With its biodegradability, PLA plastic does not emit too much CO2 into the air and, if buried, produces 70% less greenhouse gas emissions.
• Reduce plastic waste
In addition, tapioca starch bioplastic is also one of the solutions to reduce plastic pollution. Because in the process of decomposition, microorganisms will begin to appear and perform the process of eating starch in the product. It creates the final products of CO2, H2O, organic humus substances, and biomass. These are also products that do not pollute the environment and reuse as organic fertilizers to help trees grow lush.
• Safe for human health
With the main ingredients from materials of natural origin, PLA resins are not toxic to the human body, so they can be applied in many fields such as:
– Packaging: mainly used in the production of food wrappers, supermarket bags, and garbage bags.
– In agriculture, it is used as a biological mulch to prevent weathering factors
– In electronics: used as computer cases, phone cases.
3. Production Process
PLA biodegradable plastic is produced by lactic acid polymerization. Through the process of fermenting sugar from renewable raw material, wheat starch. Then, lactic acid is put into the reactor and condensed into lactide under vacuum and high-temperature conditions, broken down into chains, and linked together to form PLA plastic.
Thus, the bioplastic derived from wheat starch is the optimal plastic for the environment.
4. Economic potential of bioplastics
In 2019, about 79.6 million tons of packaging waste were produced in the EU. And short-life plastics used in packaging films, bags, and disposable tableware accounted for 15.4 million tons, second only to cardboard. Therefore, that bioplastic is one of the areas with great potential.
The above statement is even more evident through new EU laws in 2021. When not allowing single-use plastic products including cutlery, straws, and cotton swabs. In addition, this new law stipulates that by 2025, plastic bottles must be made from 25% recycled components, and by 2029 90% of them must be recycled.
Thereby, we see that the use of environmentally friendly materials is one of the measures to reduce the problem of plastic waste, solve environmental pollution and adapt to climate change.