Biodegradable Plastic Bags are a Hot Item in India


Usually people don’t think of a country like India as being environmentally friendly.  India is not a country I would expect to see large scale environmental change but the Apex Court in India has banned plastic bags less than 40 microns thick. Chennai, India is turning to biodegradable bags as an alternative to both recently banned plastic and paper bags. Many Chennaiites are becoming more aware of the adverse affects plastic bags have on the environment and there is a new demand for biodegradable plastic bags.

Biodegradable plastic bags are the new hot commodity in Chennai, India. The biodegradable plastic bags are made from renewable resin taken from potato and soybean plants. The alternative bags decompose very quickly and degrade back into the soil. The bags are required to be made from over 90 percent of organic carbon which can be transformed to carbon dioxide in 180 days. According to Y Goutham, consultant for Ecolife, the biodegradable bags do not contain heavy metals and the bacteria in the soil are able to consume the bags. The alterative plastic bags do not slack on quality; they are as strong as normal plastic bags and have a smaller carbon footprint. The only downside to these great alternatives is the cost, the bags can cost anywhere between 2 and 5 times price of the normal bags.

“All new technologies are expensive. However, large scale production of these plastics is possible using the same infrastructure as for normal plastics and prices will fall once large capacities have been built up,” says Sunder Balakrishnan, general manager of Naturetech, a brand of compostable plastic products.

What is making the transition from plastic bags to biodegradable plastic bags so smooth is the community’s heightened awareness.

“Awareness was very low when we started and there were hardly any takers in the first year. Now with increased awareness and the ban on plastics, we are getting a good number of enquiries,” Y Goutham.

A better understanding of the harmful effects of plastics has helped India do something many American’s are pushing for. If India can ban plastic bags nationally then what is holding back the United States from following in India’s footsteps?

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