Indian Australian scientist
promotes green plastics
Nov 6 (IANS) With plastic garbage becoming the bane of modern
societies, an Indian Australian scientist says 100 percent
biodegradable bioplastics is the only way to go, especially
in the growing populated economies of India and China.
are providing bio-responsible material solutions for the world
market that deliver all the functionality of conventional
petrochemically derived plastics in an economical, totally
organic and eco-sensitive way," Melbourne-based Plantic
Technologies Limited's Chief Technology Officer Kishan Khemani
told IANS in an interview here.
Technologies manufactures starch-based polymers for packaging
and other applications. Its novel technology is based on the
use of high-amylose corn starch, a material derived from annual
harvesting of specialised non-genetically modified (hybrid)
corn unlike other bioplastics companies which convert corn
starch into polymers through a complex and expensive refinery
"This type of starch with its unique chemical and film-forming
properties allows development of a range of applications across
conventional plastics markets. It is not only renewably sourced,
it is biodegradable and compostable unlike petrochemically
derived plastics that create significant waste management
costs and major environmental problems," says Khemani,
who graduated from Bhagalpur University in Bihar and completed
his doctorate from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
plastics market worldwide is about 100 million tonnes and
the Asia-Pacific region caters for 19 percent of it. "We
are doing some trials with Cadburys India for chocolate boxes
and will be exploring other opportunities in India as with
growing affluence, use of plastics in packaging will only
grow," says Khemani, who has worked in India, Canada
and the US before joining Australia-based Plantic in 2005.
sees bioplastics as the only alternative to petrochemical-based
plastics, especially as crude oil resources diminish and prices
spiral. He says: "Almost 50 percent of consumers consider
at least one sustainability factor in selecting consumer packaged
goods items and at the same time brand owners and retailers
are demanding `green' products. Our bioplastic uses on an
average 40 percent less energy across its entire life cycle
than fossil fuel plastics."
growth rate of petrochemical plastics is five percent per
annum, but as people and governments commit to reducing greenhouse
gas emissions, the market for bio-polymers is forecast to
grow by 230 percent to 300,000 tonnes over the next five years.
bioplastics may be classified as polymers using biomass, polysaccharides
(starch, cellulose), protein and lipids and those derived
from micro-organisms or plant cells and bio-derived monomers
such as lactic acid.
food and beverage packaging to medical, automotive and aerospace
applications, the Plantic technology is being used by many
international companies - WalMart, Toyota, GM, DuPont, Dow,
Cadbury Schweppes, Nestle, Kellogs, Kraft, Lindt - going the
'green' packaging way.
Biodegradable Lethal Ovitrap (BLO), which is a faster, cheaper
and environmentally safer way of killing mosquitoes than interior
spraying techniques, can also be very useful in India for
controlling the spread of dengue.
explains: "The dengue mosquito lays its eggs in a container
of water such as the BLO. An insecticidal strip is placed
inside the bucket, creating a 'booby trap' that kills the
mosquito and the eggs before they have the opportunity to
spread dengue. It eliminates the risk of traps becoming breeding
sites when the insecticide becomes inactive."