Kenya turns to Bioplastic for its packaging needs.

Posted on : Thursday , 1st December 2022

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya has seen a spike in the market for home delivery, many of which are created with plastic packaging materials like oxoplastics and bioplastics.

Many agricultural products, as well as packaging, trash bags, and decomposition sacks, use oxyplastics, which are made from petroleum polymers. Because they include special chemicals, they break down easily.

Because it is environmentally favourable, biodegradation is regarded as a viable solution for the environmentally acceptable disposal of plastic waste. The trash should breakdown in the lowest amount of time possible during biodegradation to avoid building up in the environment.

On the other side, bioplastics are made from plants and/or microbes. Bioplastics are often created from natural polymers found in plants, animals, and microorganisms. These polymers are converted into polylactic acid, which may be utilised to create water bottles, a variety of food-grade containers, as well as films, with the aid of a catalyst.

Therefore, bioplastics are recyclable and biodegradable. This is regarded as a carbon dioxide emission with zero sum. They contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and utilize 65% less energy than petrochemical plastics in their production.

Following the trend, Kenya began using bioplastics, and numerous investors made significant investments.

Plant polymers including sisal, papyrus, palm leaves, and baobab provide another option to plastic. In Kenya, plant-based carrier bags have gained popularity again in recent years to fill the hole left by the ban on single-use plastic bags.

These days, it's normal to see people using these bags in grocery stores and supermarkets. Although they are more expensive than plastic bags, the price can encourage reusing habits and disrupt the mentality of use-and-dump.

The biodegradable cotton fabric bags, also known as Kitenge bags, are another option that has gained popularity among urban and peri-urban people.

It would also help much to reduce unnecessary plastics if taxes on all imports intended to give traders accessible, cost-effective alternatives to single-use plastics were reduced or eliminated. However, a bioplastics-based green economy has the potential to create twice as much employment while preserving the environment. Increased employment opportunities in the cultivation, harvesting, and transportation of raw materials will result from encouraging the use of forest products to make alternatives to single-use plastics.

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