It's become increasingly clear that biodegradable plastic is not the eco-friendly solution to reduce our plastic pollution problem around the world. Not only can biodegradable plastic not be recycled (in a re-processing plant); when it degrades, it breaks into tiny pieces which, if it finds its way into the oceans, seriously affects marine life.
Ethically, polythene producers now turn to a viable alternative polythene product that's not only environmentally friendly, but also suitable for the recycling mix and for subsequent reuse. Certain products require polythene due to the nature of the protection required, rather than labour intensive paper and card. The answer is GreenPolythene.
Sugar cane processing results in a waste by product, of which ethanol is used to create a polymer that’s bio-based rather than oil-based (such as crude oil based polythene). During the growth of the sugar cane, the natural process of photosynthesis sees carbon captured. Initially, this raw material is carbon negative. As sugar cane is obviously a plant, it's totally renewable and won't deplete fossil fuels (such as crude oil, used for standard polythene), which is of enormous environmental benefit.
The production process inevitably generates carbon through factors such as manufacturing and transport, which means that by the time the bio-based polythene is produced it is actually carbon neutral. The Carbon Trust recently accredited an example of sugar cane based polythene bags as carbon neutral, confirming that it’s possible to nullify the effect of carbon emissions.
It’s worth considering some additional key points. The UK uses some 1 million tonnes of polythene films and bags every year. Using fossil fuel polymers to meet this demand costs the planet 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 annually. By widely implementing GreenPolythene this figure could be drastically reduced.