Biotransformation Technology 

Why in News?

  • Recently, A UK-based start-up has claimed to have developed a Biotransformation Technology that could change the state of plastics and make them biodegradable.

About Biotransformation Technology-

  • Biotransformation technology is a novel approach to ensure plastics that escape trash streams are processed efficiently and broken down.
  • Plastics produced using this technology are given a pre-programmed time during which the manufactured material appear  and feels like conventional plastics without compromising on quality.
  • Once the product expires and is exposed to the outside environment, it self-destructs, and bio transforms into bio-available wax.
  • This wax is then consumed by micro-organisms, converting waste into water, CO2, and biomass.
  • This biotransformation technology is the world’s first that ensures poly-olefins completely biodegrade in an open environment causing no microplastics.
  • Need for such a Technology-
  • India is producing 3.5 billion kgs of plastic waste every year and that the per capita plastic waste generation has also doubled in the last five years. Of this, a third comes from packaging waste.
  • In 2019, plastic packaging waste from e-commerce firms was estimated at over a billion kilograms globally, as per Statista.
  • Seeing such a burden of plastic waste, which could potentially damage biodiversity, it is required to create technology in order to tackle the Plastic Menace.
  • Utility- Food packaging and health care industries are the two key sectors that could use this technology to decrease waste.
  • The increase in cost is relatively less compared to conventional plastic that does not contain.

Alternatives to decrease Plastic Waste-

  • A switch to jute or paper-based packaging could potentially reduce plastic waste. This could also increase sustainability within the paper industry and save on the import bill on ethylene solutions.
  • Further, The Wooden Packaging is yet another option, but that will make the packaging bulkier and increase cost.
  • The Government of Tamil Nadu (in Chennai), organised National Expo and Conference of Startups to increase awareness on alternatives to single-use plastics.
  • The alternatives displayed were made using coir, bagasse, rice and wheat bran, plant and agricultural residue, banana and areca leaves, jute and cloth.

Various Initiatives Related to Plastic Waste-

  • The Indian government has introduced numerous initiatives to move the country towards sustainability. They notified a plastic waste management gazette to help tackle the ever-growing plastic pollution caused by single-use plastics.
  • In 2022, the government imposed a ban on single-use plastics (SUP) to prevent its use in the country.
  • The National Dashboard on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management brings all stakeholders together to track the progress made in eradicating single-use plastic and effectively managing such waste.
  • An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) portal supports in enhancing accountability, traceability, and facilitating ease of compliance reporting in relation to EPR obligations of the producers, importers and brand-owners.
  • India has also created a mobile app to report single use plastics grievances to check sale, usage or manufacturing of single use plastics in their area.

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