Market | VOL. 12, ISSUE 70, January-February 2012

Eco-Friendly Plastics

Plastic’ is the collective name for synthetic or semi-synthetic organic materials that is today inextricably related to everyone’s life. The origin of the term ‘plastic’ is not known with certainty - perhaps it is Greek for ‘plastikos’ meaning ‘fit for moulding’ or from ‘plastos’ meaning ‘moulded’. Plastics consist of long chain molecules (amorphous solids) or polymers of high molecular mass which do not break apart when flexed and are easily shaped and moulded with heat or pressure. During manufacture of industrial products, this malleability of plastics allows them to be cast, pressed or extruded into a variety of shapes such as fibres, filaments, films, plates, tubes, bottles, boxes, coatings, adhesives and much more. Certain other properties of plastics like light weight, strength, production cost, easy fabrication and accessibility have made it a raw material of choice for plastic manufacturers. Plastics primarily consist of artificial (petroleum-based) resins, but can also be created from natural substances as in certain cellular derivatives and shellac.   Bioplastics Despite its convenience, plastic disposal and recycling is practised unsustainably. India and many other developing nations suffer from hazards related to plastic disposal wherein plastic litter presents unhygienic conditions, blocks drainage systems and enhancing run off. Plastics also, often contain a variety of toxic additives like adiapates, phthalates, PVCs, etc. that pollute soil and water. Bioplastics, on the other hand are created...

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