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How does biodegradable packaging protect the environment?

With the gradual deterioration of the global environment and the increasing plastic pollution, people have proposed various activities such as zero-waste living to improve the living environment. For this reason, various industries have also developed corresponding products to provide society with to assist these movements.

Degradable or recyclable materials are beginning to gain popularity as a trend, and people have joined various environmental protection activities such as garbage sorting, home composting, and green travel.

Compared with the vigorous environmental protection activities one after in the society, the activities of the industry are relatively quiet, and people don't seem to hear any publicity from the industry. Is it because the industry can't make many contributions to environmental protection?

In fact, the industry is responsible for most of the pollution, and the industry is also at the forefront of fighting pollution. only for plastic, the global plastic production in 2021 will be 370 million tons, most of which is It is made and used by the packaging industry, and for this reason, the packaging industry has also made a lot of efforts to change this situation.

To understand how the packaging industry is improving its products to protect the environment, it is first necessary to understand how plastic is causing environmental damage.

Since most of the traditional plastics are produced with non-renewable degradable materials, the plastic structure is stable, not easy to be degraded by natural microorganisms, and will not be separated for a long time in the natural environment. It is extremely harmful to the land, it will change the pH of the land, seriously pollute the soil, affect the absorption of nutrients and water by crops, reduce agricultural production, and affect the sustainable use of land. The harmful smoke and toxic gases produced by incineration will also cause pollution to the atmospheric environment.

Furthermore, because these materials do not degrade easily, they cannot be eliminated from the environment. Plastic waste entering the ocean will be turned into tiny fragments called microplastics due to long-term physical friction. These particles may clog the stomachs and digestive systems and blood vessels of marine animals. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, every year, Thousands of seabirds, turtles and other animals suffer horrific deaths due to plastic waste, around 60% of seabirds have eaten plastic debris in some way, and this number will increase to 99% by 2025, and what is even more terrifying is that these plastic particles will eventually enter human diets along the food chain and cause serious harm to human health.

So, in response to these pollution situations, what changes should the corresponding industries make to improve their products?

Biodegradable materials are the most suitable answer.

Biodegradable plastics refer to a class of plastics that are degraded by the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, moulds (fungi) and algae. The ideal biodegradable plastic is a polymer material with excellent performance, which can be completely decomposed by environmental microorganisms after being discarded, and finally, be unorganized to become an integral part of the carbon cycle in nature.

It has the same performance as traditional plastics and can directly replace the position of traditional plastics. If these plastics also eventually become garbage like traditional plastics, as long as they are collected and placed in a proper environment, usually three to six months Inside, they can be decomposed into the water, carbon dioxide, various organic substances and other natural elements that are not harmful to the environment.

Therefore, the emergence of biodegradable plastics has completely solved several pollution sources. It does not need to be incinerated, so no harmful gases and dust are produced. It can be directly decomposed by naturally occurring microorganisms, so there is no need to add any more that may harm the environment. It can be decomposed into gas and liquid in a short time, so there is no longer the problem of plastic particles entering the natural food chain cycle, and there will be no agricultural problems and food safety problems. It can be said that The pollution problems caused by plastic are basically solved by biodegradable plastics.

Some people may still have doubts, if the contribution the packaging industry can make is just some shopping bags and garbage bags, will it really be enough to reverse the current situation of piles of plastic waste? Those garbage heaps are far more than just plastic waste from daily life.

Yes, the use of biodegradable plastics is far more than that. It has a wider range of uses, so it can protect our environment from a wider range. From the perspective of end applications, biodegradable plastics are widely used, the main application In the three major fields of agriculture and fishery, packaging industry and consumer goods. Agriculture and fishery mainly include plastic film, water-retaining materials, seedling pots, seedbeds, rope nets, pesticides and fertilizer slow-diluting materials, etc.; while the packaging industry mainly includes shopping bags, garbage bags, compost bags, disposable lunch boxes, instant noodle bowls, buffer packaging materials and etc.

In terms of industry segments, according to Grandview Research data, the packaging industry is currently the largest application field of biodegradable plastics in the world, accounting for 58%; followed by agriculture, accounting for 13%; and the consumer goods field, accounting for 11%.

Think about it, if so many plastics are traditional plastics, does our work on environmental protection still have any meaning?

This is how biodegradable plastics protect the environment.

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