Development of Bioplastics as Environmentally Friendly Plastic Solutions

December 8, 2014 - Uncategorized

Plastic wastes has been a thorny issue that must be addressed immediately. For decades, plastic became the biggest contributor to the amount of waste. The use of plastic bags in Indonesia alone reached 100 billions annually. Based on these calculations, it is estimated that each person in Indonesia uses about 700 plastic bags per year, or roughly two plastic bags in a day. Former garbage bag if it is left in the ground, will be a significant pollutant. When burned, the waste will significantly increase the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

To deal with this problem, PT Indmira is trying to find a solution to create a more environmentally friendly plastics. Bioplastics or organic plastics commonly known to be one of the discoveries of PT Indmira. The initial study in manufacturing bioplastics made ​​on September 4, 2012. “We conducted this study with the aim of finding solutions of environmental problems caused by plastic waste through the producing environmentally friendly plastic that is easily degraded,” said Budi Haryono,team Research & Development PT Indmira.

Bioplastics developed PT Indmira, made ​​from renewable materials and can be easily degraded by microorganisms in the soil, from which is derived from plant cellulose. Bioplastics can be degraded byPseudomonassp., and Bacillus sp. by breaking the chains of the polymer into the monomers. The results of the degradation, in addition to carbon dioxide and water produced, are other organic compounds that produce organic acids and aldehydes which are not harmful to the environment.

Through the use of organic materials for bioplastics, the microorganisms in the soil can decompose it easily and relatively quick. “After testing the bioplastics by planting it in the ground, it turns that bioplastics can be biodegraded in about 1-2 months,” Budi Haryono stated. Unlike the usual conventional plastics, it takes hundreds of years for plastic to be completely degraded. When it degraded, plastic particles resulted form it will contaminate the soil and groundwater. As we know that plastics are widely circulated, the synthetic polymer, made ​​from petroleum that are difficult to decompose in nature. As for the bioplastic, bioplastics that are biodegraded will increase the amount of nutrients in the soil, thus making the soil become fertile.

Bioplastics manufacturing process relatively easy. The manufacturing process begins with water to dilute cellulose material and adding plasticizer to it, then then the dough is beeing heated to boiling temperature. After the boiling process, it can be printed in accordance with the desired shape.

The strengths of bioplastics in accommodating the load is not inferior to conventional plastics. The strength of bioplastics can be the same, depending on the thickness of bioplastics. That means, the thicker bioplastics are more robust to accommodate the load. However, the price of bioplastics is relatively more expensive. From the research that has been conducted by a team of Research & Development PT Indmira, for bioplastics measuring 15 cm x 25 cm cost about Rp 400 – Rp 500.

The higher price is nothing when it compared to the impact of plastic waste would do to environment. Bioplastics can be made ​​as efforts to save the environment from the dangers of plastic. It would be nice if we started to switch to using a type of plastic that is easily degraded as an effort to reduce environmental pollution in order to save our earth. (Charisma)

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