Biotic is Turning Agricultural Waste Into Biodegradable and Bio-Compostable Bioplastic Packaging

photo by Biotic

Life in plastic, it’s fantastic goes the catchy lyric from one of the 1990s’ most famous dance-pop songs. Two decades later, plastic is still all around us, but few would say its ubiquity is anything to sing about. Each year, 14 million tonnes of plastic pollution enter our oceans, directly threatening or killing 800 marine wildlife species; we regularly ingest microplastics, which directly threaten our health, especially that of women and girls. It’s a big enough problem that UNEP has elevated plastic pollution to global crisis status. Single-use plastics have an outsized impact on plastic pollution, but for companies wanting to make the change to something more sustainable, the available alternatives tend to be too expensive to adopt or exhibit performance challenges when compared to the plastic packaging currently in use.

Lwanda Biotech has developed a sustainably sourced, biobased, biodegradable, and bio-compostable bioplastic packaging as a direct drop-in substitute to the single-use plastic packaging currently used by the Food and Beverage industry. Biotic, as they’ve named this new material, is derived from abundantly available agricultural waste biomass (as opposed to using fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change). According to Lwanda Biotech, Biotic has the potential to reduce 42 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and to reduce the plastic pollution that enters our oceans and global food chains (in the form of microplastics) by 60% by the year 2030.

What sets Biotic apart is its plug-and-play solution: designed to fit into existing production infrastructure as a direct substitute, it doesn’t oblige companies to invest in completely different product packaging. By matching the look, functionality, and processability of conventional single-use plastic packaging, Biotic presents a commercially appealing win-win business case to plastics manufacturers and FMCGs (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) who, by virtue of their products, have the largest plastics footprint in their value chains. Using readily available agricultural waste biomass feedstock means that the material is fully compostable on land and in water without requiring specialized industrial composting conditions. Its end-of-life management is easy in low-resource, low technology settings like Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Lwanda Biotech, Biotic doesn’t pose the same health and hygienic problems as plastic. Agricultural waste biomass is a non-fossil fuel-based feedstock and does not require burning for its production. As such, it doesn’t contribute any atmospheric CO2 which acidifies ocean water and directly harms marine wildlife. Completely biodegradable within four months, it eliminates the choking and killing danger posed to any sea life. When plastic is discarded on soil, it can pollute the earth and wreak havoc on the biodiversity of species responsible for maintaining agricultural fertility. Biotic is designed to naturally bio-compost in soil at the end of its intended lifespan.

Biotic in a flexible thin film form and one of its use cases as a retail carrier bag. Photo by Biotic.

Because it disintegrates so quickly and naturally, Biotic does not create any micro plastics – those miniscule irritants that can leech back into our food chain, directly impacting our health. Plastic pollution is also linked to waterborne and vectorborne diseases that are associated with urban flooding incidents. In addition to safeguarding our health, Biotic has an economic advantage: Lwanda Biotech aims to create 5,000 jobs targeting women and people with disabilities all along the company’s value chain by 2030. 

Learn more at Lwanda Biotech site.

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