It takes time to promote corn starch degradable plastics

How much pressure does the rapidly increasing packaging material bring to the environment? "Ordinary plastics are artificial polymer structures. Microorganisms in the environment can't degrade polymers quickly. They can't be degraded within one or two hundred years after flowing into the natural environment. The impact on the environment is irreversible." Jiangnan University Environment and Civil Engineering Wu Wenquan, a professor at the School of Engineering, revealed that Wuxi is a logistics distribution center. During the “Double Eleven” period this year, Wuxi’s express business growth was at the forefront of the country. Some express shipments to Wuxi may require secondary packaging, and the amount of packaging waste in the entire Wuxi area is increasing. What is even more troublesome is that the express plastic packaging lacks corresponding recycling channels, and most of them are mixed into domestic garbage, some are burned, and a small part is buried.

Is the express package not non-plastic? No. According to Jin Zhengyu, the new biological material he developed is a starch-grade degradable plastic, the main ingredient is corn starch. Corn starch is a natural polymer, and the plastic is also a high polymer. It is completely possible to replace ordinary plastic with starch-grade degradable plastic. Bio-plastics can be degraded after being composted. Even if they are incinerated, their carbon emissions are only one-third of that of ordinary plastics, and the amount of toxic substances produced is much less. It is reported that this new material has already successfully entered the market. The products have degradable lunch boxes, plastic bags, etc., which are used by some food and beverage outlets, accounting for more than 20% of the national plastic packaging market. Moreover, this product has been in short supply. The new production base in Northeast China, which is cooperating with Jin Zhengyu, will be put into operation at the end of next year. It is expected to produce 40,000 tons of starch-grade biodegradable plastics per year.

Cost is a big consideration, is the new material expensive? Starch-grade bioplastics are basically equivalent to ordinary plastics. Jin Zhengyu said that the current price of one ton of starch is less than 3,000 yuan, and one ton of plastic needs tens of thousands of yuan. The current "blocking tiger" that promotes biodegradable bioplastics is not a cost but a time cost. The equipment used to form starch-grade materials is tailor-made, and it takes time to expand production scale.

Nowadays online shopping has become a new consumption habit. People like Liu Mengling, after online shopping, they don’t know how to handle express packaging, they can only throw it away. Professor Zhai Wenquan said that packaging garbage, especially plastic waste, once it enters the natural world, will bring a variety of negative effects. If the carton packaging is mixed with kitchen waste, it will reduce the recycling rate of resources. He called for everyone to do a good job of sorting garbage and using a bit of action to protect the ecological home.

Editor in charge: Wang Ning 12

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