After some discussion with my lecturer and some given suggestions, here are some researches.
Packaging has always played a huge role in our daily lives probably without us even realizing it. The packaging materials ranges from plastics, papers, glass to aluminium. The problem about plastics and paper bags are that they are so convenient and versatile until they were overused. From the early stages, people have always worked hard to come out with greener solutions when it comes to packaging design. This is when the so called “environmental friendly” plastics are introduced as an alternative solution.
However, are they the solution to the problem or merely just a business gimmick?
Making better plastics
The “environmental friendly” plastics can be divided into three categories consisting of
- biodegradable plastics
- eco-recycled plastics
Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are made from traditional petrochemical that breaks down quicker compared to the normal plastics whereas eco-recycled plastics are those made from recycled plastic materials rather than the raw source.
A not-so-perfect solution
If you think that opting for “green” plastics on a day-to-day basis is a way of doing your part to help address our growing landfill problem, think again.
Are bioplastics good or bad?
On the other hand, bioplastics have been a long time controversial topic. Many design companies and manufacturers have been looking high at bioplastics. Though bio-plastics are being marketed as the best new “alternative” to traditional plastics there are a few details about this miracle material that skeptics are unrelentingly concerned about. It is made up of renewable resources such as corn starch, sugar and vegetable oils. They can be found in food packaging, folders and many other places we might use traditional plastics at. It’s important to see things in the round to understand whether “environmentally friendly” things are really doing more harm than good.
- could possibly reduce 30 to 80 percent of greenhouse gasses
- provide a longer shelf life
- do not readily decompose
- requires a very high temperature to degrade
- were said that it could impact the lives of animals and humans
- environmentalists consider some bioplastics (PLA) made of genetically modified corn or crops are considered harmful to the environment
- excessive use of corn starch in production of plastics will also cause food crisis
- PLA looks very similar to PET (polyethylene terephthalate) but, if the two are mixed up in a recycling bin, the whole collection becomes impossible to recycle
Dell, K. (2010) ‘The Promise And Pitfalls of Bioplastic’ Time Magazine, 3 May [Online]. Available at: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1983894,00.html (Accessed: 7 July 2015).
Dorsey, S. (2012) ‘Is Bio-plastic really better than regular?’ Frugivore Magazine, 6 December [Online]. Available at: http://frugivoremag.com/2012/12/is-bio-plastic-really-better-than-regular/ (Accessed: 6 July 2015).
Weinberger, H. (2014) ‘Biodegradable Plastics: Too Good to Be True?’ Quest, 12 Jun. Available at: http://science.kqed.org/quest/2014/06/12/biodegradable-plastics-too-good-to-be-true/ (Accessed: 6 July 2015).
Woodford, C. (2015) ‘Bioplastics and biodegradable plastics ‘ Explain That Stuff!, 2 July. Available at: http://www.explainthatstuff.com/bioplastics.html (Accessed: 7 July 2015).