The time has come when we all should take responsibilities in saving the Mother Earth. The way forward is going green. Going green has many advantages from protecting our environment to saving money. Learning to adopt green could be a slow process, but the commitment to it could lead us to a plethora of benefits that our future generations would reap.
One such revolution that has been happening in the packaging world, is the use of materials that are environmentally friendly but are also bio-degradable and reusable. The use of starch and clay for packaging needs.
Using Clay and Starch for packaging
The benefit of using clay is that it can be used in layers, held together tightly. It is first processed so that it can be blended with starch. In this process, the clay is first treated with ions, which creates wide spaces between the layers of clay, and the process is called ion exchange. The processed clay is commercially known as nanoclay and also organoclay.
It is then blended with thermoplastic starch, which is made out of corn starch and provides durability and strength to the product. It is then processed similarly the way petroleum-based plastics are processed. Mainly used for packaging of food materials, the final product goes through processes as required in the case or packaging films to ensure that it would not contaminate the food materials coming in its contact.
You now must be thinking that plastics are a serious issue for the environment as they take years to decompose, clogs waterways causing floods and if reaches the oceans can cause serious damage to marine life. Well! The issue has been addressed on serious notes.
Plastics made of thermoplastic starch are not only bio-degradable but are also reusable making it high safe and environmental friendly.
This new green packaging material is very much capable of protecting the foods inside but also increases the shelf-life of the product inside and that too without causing any damage to the environment.
With the introduction of sustainable mean and green initiative will help the environment from negative impacts and help in the conservation of resources for coming generations. As well starch manufacturers in india, who have till now been manufacturing starch only as textile starch, will have more and better means of concentrating on technologies to produce and use starch.
The progress in the packaging technology seems to be moving forward at a fast pace with new found bio-materials. The need of the moment is awareness and with such means like using natural materials for packaging needs will help further in the efforts with the manufacturers and users as well.
Improvement in starch based plastics and blending of starch with polymers of different kinds might not be an easy and cheaper methodology at the moment as compared to commercial plastics, but surely with the increase of their uses and increased adoptability, it would be a better and cheaper option in the coming times. With awareness and constant endeavor to use more and more eco-friendly options in the packaging world, the sector seems bright and it will for sure lead to further innovations and developments.