Biodegradable bags-The New Skyline in Bio-plastic Export Markets

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Ecospear, a company that arose into existence from the direct necessity to ease the environmental crisis in Bangladesh, manufactures eco-friendly bags with cassava peel – a root crop known as “Shimul Alu” – and has the capacity to export around Tk50 crore annually.

“Currently, it is exporting products to different countries around the world, such as North America, UK and Germany.”, Mohammad Raihan, founder and chief executive of the Chattogram-based company.

The company faces a drawback too. Despite great demand, Ecospear cannot make an entry into the domestic market in the absence of a license from the agency concerned, which is not equipped enough to examine the products.

Raihan said that when ordinary plastic does not decompose even in 400 years, the bags made from cassava and corn take 90-147 days to completely biodegrade naturally once discarded.

“And in boiled water, it becomes liquid in just three minutes. These biodegradable bags also have the option of reuse. No plastic material was found in Ecospear’s home-compostable products after testing at the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) lab,” he added.

Apart from producing bags with cassava, Ecospear has been using the latest technology derived from Polymateria Ltd, which has been providing a tailored biodegradable solution for conventional plastic packaging since 2021 to make eco-friendly plastics. The company has named the eco-friendly plastic FASTIX. It takes only 18 months to assimilate into the soil. The company manufactures cups, bottles, straws, laundry bags, juice caps, packaging bags, white poly, garment polybags and food containers with FASTIX. Ecospear is producing two tonnes of such FASTIX products every month. The list of buyers of these products includes world-famous children’s toy manufacturers such as America’s Pebble Child and Freddy. Some more is in the pipeline to increase the Green value of their Brand.

“But since there is no machinery for processing these potato peels in the country, we import the processed peel (resin) from Indonesia and Malaysia to produce the product. But we are gradually focusing on making FASTIX, the most affordable biodegradable alternative on the market. As it will save the cost, because this FASTIX can be made by using any machine using conventional raw materials used inside the country,” he added.

About FASTIX: Polymateria Limited is a British advanced technology development company to deal with plastic pollution. It has a lab on the campus of Imperial College London. Biotransformation technology invented by the company can make all types of plastics completely biodegradable in the natural environment. Comparing the ongoing plastic pollution in the world with an epidemic, the method to prevent it is called the “Vaccine for plastic”. Ecospear is working with Polymateria and the plastic produced through biotransformation technology has been locally named as FASTIX.

Regarding the technology, Niall Dunne, chief executive officer of Polymateria, said in an interview with Bloomberg, “We’re targeting the type of plastic that’s most likely to wind up in nature with a solution that doesn’t need any composting technologies to biodegrade or capital expenditure.”

Ecospear’s Chief Executive Raihan said, “Polymateria vaccine is a pro-biotic used in the manufacture of plastic bags, cups or bottles. As a result, it helps in the self-degradation of plastic over a period of time. It breaks down plastic polymers into wax. The best thing is that in this process, plastic does not remain in the environment in micro or nano form. Instead, it becomes a completely natural food for bacteria and fungi.” Tested and certified by Impact Solution (UK), one of the top plastic testing labs in the world. Ecospear will soon produce biodegradable raincoats, aprons and sanitation covers, added the young entrepreneur.

Environmental benefits:  The best of this Fastix technology is that it doesn’t need any extra treatment to bio-degrade. It is manufactured with an expiry date of 1 year or 2 years, as per the customer’s need and once it reaches its expiry it will automatically self-destruct and biodegrade itself without creating any microplastic. It is nothing like oxo-degradable technology which is banned in North America, the European Union and Australia, because of creating microplastics at the time of degradation. We must be aware of that. Fastix is brand new nanotechnology that attacks the carbon chain of plastic and brings its molecular weight to such an extent that it becomes the food of bacteria and fungi. The most effective and efficient way to have the Bioplastics (Fastix) – Fast degradable Intelligent Plastics.

How much cost saving for the RMG sector: Ecospear has brought the most affordable bioplastics for the RMG sector. Since normal bioplastics are two or three times more expensive in comparison to conventional plastic, most buyers are moving toward recycled plastics. That’s good, but partially. Recycled plastics are inferior to normal plastics. Moreover, it’s not biodegradable. We need something which will vanish or assimilate into nature in a very short period of time after use. Fastix is best in the both world, affordable on one side and effective on the other side. No change in the barrier, sealability, strength, transparency, or even in physical integrity. Only a 30% – 40% increase in the price than normal plastic is a huge win for today’s sustainable-minded buyers. Furthermore, it’s totally recyclable.

Marketing planning for BD Textile and RMG sector: BD textile or our RMG sector can utilize this opportunity to be more sustainable and become a role model to the whole world. BGMEA should offer all the buyers to switch to these kinds of sustainable packaging and should show everyone that we care for nature. The RMG sector must market it and keep it as a competitive advantage over that of other countries.