Monday, January 14, 2008

Bioplastic, The solution to our plastic needs?

Bioplastics are a form of plastics derived from plant sources such as hemp oil, soy bean oil and corn starch, or from a microbial source, rather than traditional plastics which are derived from petroleum.

In today's world, plastic is almost impossible to escape from. Yes there are ways to avoid it, but then it still creeps back into your life in some way shape or form. If you use a computer, there is plastic inside it, the monitor has plastic in it, the mouse, the keyboard, the speakers, printer, scanner, webcam all of it has plastic in it. Sadly, virtually all plastic made is made from petroleum, aren't biodegradable and are usually very toxic. As you can see in my previous post, our plastic use is causing many issues with our environment and it is time we all make change.

One simple solution is to use bioplastics. Bioplastics are made from plant sources and are biodegradable. If we were using bioplastic for the past 50 years instead of petroleum based plastic, the garbage patch in the pacific would be very small or even not there.

The question sometimes comes up, if all the plastic in the world was made from plant sources, wouldn't that create a huge strain on our food supply? As it sits right now, in Europe, it wouldn't. In America, it would. Why? The simple answer is Hemp (Cannabis) seed can be used to make bioplastic. Hemp grows very fast and can grow almost anywhere. Hemp can be grown in most of Europe. Hemp is illegal to grow in the USA. The seeds of the hemp plant can be used to make plastics while the fiber from the hemp plant can make clothing, some papers, even manufactured wood products. The pulp extracted from the cannabis plant could also be used to make all sorts of paper products. Cannabis (hemp) is good for the environment and has much less impact on the environment than growing corn. If cannabis (hemp) was able to be grown everywhere in the world, that would provide all the needed supply of material needed for our plastic needs, our clothing needs and our paper needs. Save trees, save the environment and not use oil. Sounds good to me.

I would suggest everyone urge every manufacturer that uses plastic to switch to bioplastic. If enough people do this, they will change.

Bioplastic Wikipedia Article
Bioplastics Blog
Bioplastics Market Directory