Sugar cane bioplastics – a sweet alternative?
Plastic manufacturers are always on the lookout for renewable alternatives to diversify sources of raw materials. With growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and unstable oil prices, an important ingredient to substitute petroleum in the production of plastic is Sugar cane ethanol. These so-called bioplastics have the same physical and chemical properties as regular plastic and maintain full recycling capabilities.
The benefits of Bioplastics
Sugar cane polyethylene replaces 30% or more of the petroleum that would be used to manufacture the plastic.
- Lower carbon footprint
Each metric ton of bio-polyethylene produced avoids the emission of 2 to 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
Use of bioplastics is still developing. But a number of leading companies have established themselves as major players in this emerging area such as
- Johnson & Johnson
- Tetra Pak and
Lego who have pledged to use sustainable materials in all its products by 2030. In fact, beginning this year all lego leaves, bushes and trees will be manufactured from sugar cane-based plastic.
Bioplastics have the same physical and chemical properties as regular plastic. The difference is that sugar cane-based bioplastics generate far fewer carbon dioxide emissions during production. All of this while bioplastics are 100% recyclable and some are even biodegradable.
Bioplastic in the Lake District
Many companies in the UK are now looking to swap petroleum-based plastics for sustainably sourced sugarcane-based. At the Plastic Bottles Company this is something we have already taken on board and are now adding a brand new range of bioplastics to our stock.
Our first ever new sugar cane-derived bottle will be the popular sized 250ml tubular PET. The item is exactly the same as our standard 250ml tubular PET bottle (so will fit all our 24mm caps). The difference is that the PE (Polyethylene) is derived from sugar cane as opposed to oil. The make up of the PET is a 70/30 split. 70% is terephthalate (which is a gas and cannot be sustainably sourced) and 30% is polyethylene. As the final product, i.e. PET, is still the same it can be used in all the same disciplines that standard PET can and is of course 100% recyclable.