First published May 15
Our natural environment is currently facing a plastic-waste epidemic, choking our waterways, polluting our oceans and permeating into our food sources. We have reached a crisis point in the over-use of petroleum-based product consumerism, but at last there is a new innovation, and it’s essentially simple.
It is estimated that 1 trillion plastic bags are annually discarded worldwide - along with 8 million tonnes of plastic each year finding its way into our oceans. The concern for the global plastic-waste issue has been raised extensively, and some countries, and independent states, have banned the use or sale of many of these noxious products.
Without question we need to shift away from the present disposable goods paradigm. However considering our entrenched practices, notable change away from a throwaway culture seems unlikely in the immediate, therefore biodegradable products produced from natural materials seems the logical answer. This industry is now beginning to emerge.
Eco food container products are now being manufactured through the use of natural products and resins such as Corn, sugarcane, sunflower, and possibly hemp in the near future. This solution replaces the use of a toxic non-degradable petro-polymer product with a plant-based bio-plastic product, which is compostable and biodegradable within 90 days. Some products can even dissolve in warm water within minutes.
One company Avani, based in Bali, has ethically pushed its product as to use 100% chlorine free, and certified materials.
The Avani Eco Bags are the perfect solution to the single use plastic bag problem. They look, feel and perform like plastic but are made from the cassava root starch, making them 100% compostable. It is even edible when diluted in warm water. The product has passed oral toxicity tests and causes no harm to any living thing.
Avani has also produced disposable non-eatable wooden cutlery. Their products are, FSC certified, CE certified, and ISO 13485 certified.
Biodegradable and digestible
Many existing products that are marketed as eco-friendly are not beneficial to the environment. The label ‘biodegradable bag’ sounds good, but many leave toxic residues that are harmful to marine life and plants. They often don’t degrade as well as claimed, causing death in millions of sea animals, or subsequently these toxins are passed onto us through what we consume.
Marine and terrestrial animals can eat and digest these neo biodegradable products, and micro-organisms can break them down quickly in landfill sites.
Producing Eco disposable products on a global scale is the logical solution. Although at present they are more expensive to produce, it’s a cost we should accept particularly when it benefits the protecting our environment around us!
*Ted Mead became fully aware of the issue of plastic pollution when he undertook marine-debri surveys some 25 years ago. Ted believes the entire world desperately needs to change the how and why we produce the mass of noxious disposable items, particularly the petro-polymer products. One only has to look at our fouled waterways and rubbish areas to see the immediate issue regarding the overuse of discarded plastic items.