Biotransformation - IAS Academy in Coimbatore
- A startup in the U.K. has developed a technology called “biotransformation” that can make plastics biodegradable.
- According to a report(2022), Amazon generated approximately 321 million kilograms of plastic waste from packaging materials in 2021. However, Amazon has refuted the claim.
- A U.K.-based startup claims to have developed a process that can alter the state of plastics and make them biodegradable. This process is called “biotransformation”.
- Biotransformation Technology is a method in which the plastics that escape refuse streams are processed efficiently and broken down.
- The plastic made through this process looks like conventional plastic without any compromise on the quality.
- After expiring, the product is exposed to the external environment where it self-destructs and transforms into bioavailable wax.
- Further, the wax is consumed by microorganisms and converted into CO2, water, and biomass.
- The technology will not leave behind any microplastics.
Need of Biotransformation
- India generates 3.5 billion kgs of plastic waste annually. Moreover, the per capita plastic waste generation has doubled in the last five years.
- Almost one-third of the waste comes from packaging materials.
- As per Statista, the plastic packaging waste from e-commerce firms across the world in the year 2019 was above one billion kilograms.
- It was also estimated that around 10 million kgs of Amazon’s plastic packaging ended up in the freshwater and marine ecosystems of the world as pollution.
- However, both Amazon and Flipkart have eliminated single-use plastics across their supply chain in 2021.
- The increase in the cost as compared to conventional plastic is relatively small.
- The two main sectors that can use this technology to reduce waste are food packaging and healthcare industries.
- Some Indian firms deploy such technologies for non-woven hygiene products such as diapers, sanitary napkins, facial pads, etc.
Government Initiatives to reduce plastic
- Indian government has introduced Plastic Waste Management Rules.
- The government has also imposed a ban on single-use plastics across the country.
- In order to bring all the stakeholders together to track the progress in the country, the National Dashboard on Elimination of Single-Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management was also launched.
- An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) portal is introduced for ease of compliance and accountability traceability of the producers, importers, and brand owners.
- A mobile app is also developed to address grievances related to plastic waste in an area.
Other measures to reduce plastic pollution
- A jute or paper-based packaging can cut down plastic pollution.
- Despite being costly and bulky, wooden packaging is also an option.
- The other alternatives include using bagasse, coir, rice and wheat bran, plant and agricultural residue, banana and areca leaves, and cloth.