Algae Based Biodegradable Single Serve Pack Solutions
Biodegradable plastics are plastics that can decompose in normal aerobic composting conditions and anaerobic landfill sites. Bioplastics developed from marine algae have proven to be a cheaper, versatile and possible alternative to substitute plastics derived from petrochemicals. The possibility of processing algae into plastic is high because algae contain very high protein composition which is 50%-70% of its total content. Microalgae-extracted polymers such as starch or polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are commonly used in plastics production. PHAs have inherent thermoplastic properties and need no alteration to build a plastic film. Properties of PHA will depend on the chemical structure, purity, molecular weight and amount of extracted PHAs. On the other hand, starch is not a polymer with plastic properties. Using additives it can be modified to achieve thermoplastic properties or used as a filler in other plastics.
For a while, the concept of edible packaging has been around but now is the time for it to take hold in the food industry. Concern about plastic waste is growing worldwide, and food is related to the most common products that end up as litter and pollute the ocean: wrappers, straws, cutlery, bottles and more. Edible packaging, but with a good side of hype, gives optimism. For example, plastic for packaging is hard to beat: it’s inexpensive, light, flexible and has excellent mechanical properties. Meanwhile, eating a food wrapper poses health concerns and not everyone with the burger wrapper and straw wants to chase off their burger and drink.
Yet edible packaging could help wean us from plastic in the right contexts. It originates from renewables. And even if it isn’t something people want to eat, it would still be hyperdegradable, disappearing much more quickly than single-use plastics or even compostable bioplastics. According to a global research firm, Transparency Market Research, demand for edible packaging could increase by an average of 6.9 percent annually until 2024 and could become a market worth nearly $ 2 billion worldwide.
“Edible packaging will find its place,” argues Carol Culhane, a food scientist and a member of the Food Technologists Institute. She says that could happen soon with threats of plastic pollution escalating.