Science & Tech

What precisely is Biotransformation Technology?

The article discusses the problem of plastic waste produced by the e-commerce giant Amazon, as well as the need for a biotransformation technology capable of making plastics biodegradable and its potential uses in reducing plastic waste in various industries.

Amazon’s Waste of Plastic

  • In 2021, Amazon produced 321 million kilogrammes (709 million pounds) of plastic waste from packaging waste.
  • Amazon’s plastic waste in 2021 will be enough to circle the Earth over 800 times as air pillows.

What is Biotransformation Technology?

  • Biotransformation technology is a novel method to ensuring that plastics that escape from waste streams are processed and broken down efficiently.
  • Polymateria and Imperial College in London, UK collaborated to create the technology.
  • Plastics produced with this technology have a pre-programmed period during which the manufactured material looks and feels like traditional plastics without sacrificing quality.
  • When a product reaches the end of its useful life and is exposed to the elements, it self-destructs and biotransforms into bioavailable wax, which is then eaten by microorganisms, converting waste into water, CO2, and biomass.
  • The technology is the world’s first to guarantee that polyolefins biodegrade completely in open air without producing microplastics.

Biotransformation Technology Is Required

  • Every year, India produces 3.5 billion kgs of plastic waste, with packaging waste accounting for one-third of that total.
  • Plastic packaging waste from e-commerce companies was expected to be over a billion kilogrammes worldwide in 2019.
  • In 2019, Amazon produced roughly 210 million kg (465 million pounds) of plastic from packaging waste.
  • In 2019, up to 10 million kg (22.44 million pounds) of Amazon’s plastic packaging wound up as pollution in the world’s freshwater and marine ecosystems.

The use of this device

  • The food packaging and healthcare businesses are two prime sectors that could benefit from this waste-reduction technology.
  • The expense increase is minor when compared to conventional plastic that does not contain this technology.
  • Such technologies are used by some well-known Indian companies in the food and packaging sectors.
  • This technology is used in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors to provide biodegradable solutions for non-woven hygiene products such as diapers, sanitary napkins, facial pads, and so on.

Initiatives in India to combat plastic waste

  • Elimination in stages: To combat the ever-increasing plastic pollution produced by single-use plastics, the Indian government issued a plastic waste management gazette. Last year, the government imposed a ban on single-use plastics in order to reduce their use in the nation.
  • The National Dashboard on Single-Use Plastic Elimination and Plastic Waste Management brings all stakeholders together to measure progress in eliminating single-use plastic and efficiently managing such waste.
  • Portal for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): It aids in improving accountability traceability and making compliance reporting easier in relation to the EPR duties of producers, importers, and brand owners.
  • Lifecycle monitoring: India has created a mobile app for reporting single-use plastics complaints in order to prevent the sale, use, or manufacture of single-use plastics in their region.

Alternatives to Plastic Waste Reduction

  • Plastic pollution could be reduced by switching to jute or paper-based packaging.
  • Another option is to use wooden packaging, but this will make the container bulkier and cost more.
  • Coir, bagasse, rice and wheat bran, plant and farming residue, banana and areca leaves can all be used to make alternatives.
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