Indian Institute of Plantation Management, Bangalore


Production and Operations Management-II (POM-II): The Manufacturing Operations

Submitted to Dr. V.G.DHANAKUMAR Director and Professor, IIPM & MR. K. NARENDRAN Assistant Professor, IIPM Submitted by
Prit Ranjan Jha I.D. - C07DPM029

February 2008



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I am very grateful to my course faculties, Dr. V. G. Dhanakumar and Mr. K. Narendran who continuously endeavored to enhance our learning. They continuously gave valuable guidance and support for completion of this synthesis paper. By giving this opportunity of individual work for the

Course Requirements, they have motivated us to learn beyond the classroom sessions and develop our individual analytical and understanding power. The assignment has also enhanced our Presentation Skill. I am also thankful to staffs of computer section and library. Finally I thank my class mates who cooperated to make every student an important active member of our one ‘Quality Circle’.

Prit Ranjan Jha C07DPM029 PGD-ABPM IIPM February, 2008


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S. No. 1 2 3 4 Abstract Introduction: The age of Plastics Green Plastics
Developments Bioplastics and the Environment Biopolymers Plastics Produced by bacteria Environmental costs Other market Issues Market situation Certification Applications


Page No. 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 7 8 9 10 11 11 11 12 13 14 14 16 16

5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Paper Bags for Packaging EarthShell®’s disposable dinnerware Hartmann Jute and Mesta as Packaging material Eco-labeling of plastic Conclusion References



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The present non-biodegradable waste generated mostly by plastic packing, especially in the form of small sachets is alarming. Eco-friendly packaging is very important for businesses to fulfill the responsibility towards environment. Most probably, soon it will become essential for many organizations to get some important quality certifications. In this paper, present scenario of Plastic waste, Bioplastics or green plastics and new approaches in ecofriendly packaging has been presented.

Now days it is very common to see Plastic bags floating around, un-cleared garbage containing beverage cartons of fruit juice, flavoured milk and used cushioning materials like thermocole. It is great worry for everyone that many packaging materials are causing eco-imbalance by way of draining natural resources and causing pollution. We need to ponder that is it due to the packaging materials alone or a failure of our system of clearing garbage and its disposal. Also one gets a feeling that we are over packing. The estimate of packaging waste varies from country to country and it could be from 1% to 8% of the garbage. As such let us examine the role of packaging in our day to day life. Basically the function of packaging is for distribution and it has to protect, preserve and promote the product (3 P’s). In the case of consumer products it acts as a silent salesman and marketing tool. As such, packaging is vital to reduce wastage, increase shelf life and cater to the market in distant places where it is not produced or manufactured. It meets the demands of society which calls for more consumer products to enhance the quality of life. In addition the packaging environment has changed due to the current marketing trends like self service and vending machines. Consequently packaging has to play the role of a silent salesman. It has to perform the functions of creating brand image, identify quantity, usage, expiry date, etc. It should also be easily openable and disposable. The increased demand of packaged products has resulted in increased packaging waste and consequent disposable problems and effects on pollution. The enhanced consumption of packaging materials has resulted in depletion of natural resources, higher energy consumption and pollution of water and air. As such, there is a need for eco-friendly packaging. Today in every walk of life we talk in terms of Eco-friendly and Eco-labeling. In view of the growing menace of Packaging Waste, Germany, in 1991, issued an ordinance on the ‘avoidance of Packaging Waste’. With awareness of the community to changed circumstances, the use of Eco-labeled packages is bound to have an effect on the buying habits and as such the filler of the material or manufacturer should Eco-label their package which will help to reduce, recycle, reuse or recover the packaging waste.

The age of plastics:
Demand for materials like plastics is continually growing and will not be abated. Today, the plastics industry is an important component of our economy: The U.S. plastics


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industry includes over 20,000 facilities that produce or distribute materials or products, employ over 1.5 million workers, and ship over $300 billion in products each year. The magnitude of the plastics industry, however, is itself a cause for concern. Presently, the plastics industry is worth Rs.25000 crores, according to news reports. It may be true that the magnitude of plastic usage in India is still a tenth of that in the U.S., but it is critical for Indians to rethink alternatives at this juncture and avoid public health and environmental catastrophes. Today, 200 billion pounds (100 million tons) of plastics are produced worldwide every year. Plastics are used for packaging, building materials, and virtually every type of consumer product. Past ages of human society have been called the Stone, Bronze, Copper, Iron, and Steel Ages, based on the material that was relied upon the most during that time. Today, the total volume of plastics produced worldwide has surpassed that of steel and continues to increase. Without a doubt, we have entered the Age of Plastics. Some common plastic items include: sunglasses, tooth brushes, super glue, paint brushes, tennis shoes, Frisbees, 2-liter bottles, Honda CRX's, Astroturf, photographs, street signs, pens, automobile paint, video tapes, rubber bands, balloons, bicycle tires, umbrellas, guitar strings, carpeting, shower doors, hearing aids, Scotch Tape, fishing lines, trash bags, and toilet seats. Plastic can be found in everything from clothing to machinery. It is important to understand the nature of plastics, and the consequences of their production and use. Virtually all plastics are made from nonrenewable resources, such as oil, coal or natural gas, which will eventually become exhausted. Earlier not much thought was given on disposal of plastic material since it was mainly used for land filling. Subsequently it was noticed that over long periods of time the plastics remain as such in the landfill and it was not bio-degradable. Improperly disposed plastic materials are a significant source of environmental pollution, potentially harming life. The plastic sheets or bags do not allow water and air to seep into the earth, thereby reducing the fertility of the soil, depleting underground water and harming animal life. News reports have mentioned cows choking on plastic bags in New Delhi, while trying to eat vegetable waste from the garbage. The same is true in case of marine animals like whales, dolphins, turtles and seabirds. One of the biggest challenges with plastic waste is that it is extremely hard to dispose of and persists in the environment for almost 400 years. Disposal by burning, which according to the claims of plastic manufacturers only releases carbon dioxide and water, actually throws up some of the most poisonous chemicals known to us, like polyvinyl chlorides, polyurethene, polystyrene and acrilonitriles. Also, carbon dioxide and methane produced during plastic burning are greenhouse gases. In addition, even minute amounts of the compounds used as additives in plastic have been linked to reproductive damages like falling sperm counts, increase in testicular cancer cases, and other abnormalities. While the problem of plastics disposal has to be recognised and accepted globally, India's particular situation could be worsened by our poor drainage infrastructure in the cities, and fewer resources to spare for post disaster rectification. In fact, during the flooding of Mumbai during the 2005 monsoons, plastic bags were reported to have exacerbated the floods by choking drains and gutters. Still, with a population of over 1 billion people, and a fast growing urban society fashioning its lifestyles after the west, large plastic consumption is perhaps unavoidable.


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Disposal of plastic waste in a country where municipal waste management systems are already weak becomes a problem of severe proportion.

Green Plastics: environment-friendly technology for a sustainable future
Green Plastics, sometimes also called Bioplastics, are plastics that are biodegradable and are made mostly or entirely from renewable resources. The use of bio-active compounds compounded with swelling agents ensures that, when combined with heat and moisture, they expand the plastic's molecular structure and allow the bio-active compounds to metabolise and neutralize the plastic. Green plastics are the focus of an emerging industry focused on making convenient living consistent with environmental stability. Like all plastics, bioplastics are composed of a polymer, combined with plasticizers and additives, and processed using extrusion or thermosetting. What makes green plastics "green" is one or more of the following properties: 1. Renewable ingredients 2. Biodegradable 3. Environmentally friendly processing Because different compounds can satisfy some or all of these criteria to different degrees, there are different "degrees of green" in green plastics. The use of natural polymers is not entirely a new idea. In one form or another, green plastics have been around for a long time. Natural resins-like amber, shellac, and gutta percha-have been mentioned throughout history. Significant commercialization of bioplastics only began in the middle of the nineteenth century. The American inventor, John Wesley Hyatt, Jr., was looking for a substitute for ivory in the manufacture of billiard balls, and in 1869 patented a cellulose derivative for coating non-ivory billiard balls. That attempt, however, was affected by the coating's flammability; balls were occasionally ignited when lit cigars accidentally came into contact with them. Hyatt continued working on the project and soon developed celluloid, the first widely used plastic, now most widely known for its use in photographic and movie film. In the 1920s Henry Ford experimented with using soybeans in the manufacture of automobiles. One well established bioplastic that has survived the growth of the synthetic plastics industry is cellophane, a sheet material derived from cellulose. Although production peaked in the 1960s it is still used in packaging for candy, cigarettes, and other articles.

o In the early 1950s, Amylomaize (>50% starch content corn) was successfully bred and commercial bioplastics applications started to be explored. o In 2004, NEC developed a flame retardant plastic, polylactic acid, without using toxic chemicals such as halogens and phosphorus compounds [1]. o In 2005, Fujitsu became one of the first technology company to make personal computer cases from bioplastics, which are featured in their FMV-BIBLO NB80K line. o In 2007 Braskem of Brazil announced it had developed a route to manufacture high density polyethylene (HDPE) using ethylene derived from sugar cane.


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o A biodegradable polythene material developed by National Research Development Centre (NDRC) in New Delhi is claimed to be degradable in two months. This is made from 60% ethylene, 40% starch and a binding agent. Biochemical researchers and engineers have been seeking to develop biodegradable plastics that are made from renewable resources, such as plants. In fact, compared to petrochemicals, natural plastics can provide a much wider array of basic compounds (monomers), that may be bonded together to form the plastic compounds. These can arise from two different methods – (1) Secondary compounds that are naturally produced by plants and (2) Transgenic plants that can make and store large quantities of plastics in the cell organelles called vacuole. These secondary metabolic products as well as transgenic plant plastics offer a range of plastic compounds – some of which decompose relatively quickly, and some which have longer durability, depending upon the source.

Bioplastics and the Environment
For bioplastics to become practical, they must have properties that allow them to compete with the current plastics on the market: bioplastics must be able to be strong, resiliant, flexible, elastic, and above all, durable. It is the very durability of traditional plastics that has helped them in the marketplace, and has been a major goal of plastics research throughout the years. However, it is exactly this durability that now has people increasingly worried. Now that we wrap our sandwiches in bags that will still be around when the sandwich, and even the person who ate it, are long gone, many people are wondering: have we gone too far? Current research on bioplastics is focusing on how to use nature's polymers to make plastics that are programmed-degradable: in other words, how to make products that allow us to control when and how it degrades, while insuring that the product remains strong while it is still in use. There are at least three factors that affect how environment-friendly a material is: 1. Renewability: how quickly are the ingredients that go into making the plastic created in the environment? 2. Degradability: how quickly can the plastic be re-integrated into the environment after it is no longer being used? 3. Production: how much pollution or waste is created during the process of actually making the plastic? Traditional plastics fail on all three of these points. How do natural plastics degrade? This can happen in three ways: (1) Burning/Incineration where unlike ordinary plastic, the film burns very fast leaving small residues. (2) Photo-degradation where the plastics are disintegrated under constant Ultra Violet radiation into smaller particles, which in turn get degraded completely by microorganisms under soil. (3) Vermicomposting, which consists of introducing earthworms in biodegradable plastic waste with moisture or water. Moist conditions accelerate multiplication of microorganisms which eat biodegradable film and make it porous. Porous waste is then eaten by worms like earthworm.


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Additives for disintegration of plastics are used while manufacturing of plastic bags and sheets which pre-determines the degradation time for the plastic. When the plastic is disintegrated into flakes or pieces, the weight to volume ratio comes down and they do not form a layer on the soil that may otherwise cause pollution. They allow water and air to go into the earth, thereby saving the natural resources. In India, there is immediate application for biodegradable plastics in several areas agricultural mulch, industrial packaging, wrapping, milk sachets, foodservice, personal care, pharmaceuticals, surgical implants, medical devices, recreation, etc. The concept of biodegradable plastics is very new in India, but some of industries have have ventured into production of biodegradable plastics. Degradable Polymer Technologies and Om Bioplast Pvt. Ltd., Pune, and Samki Teck Resources, Hyderabad are a few names in the field. Bioplastics also have to be cost-competitive and also bioplastics will have to possess adequate physical properties. Commercially available biopolymers are typically more expensive than synthetic polymers, often significantly so. Currently only starch competes with synthetic polymers in terms of cost. It is too early to tell how much the costs of raw materials might be brought down by a growing industry and the resulting increased demand. The main disadvantage with oil-based biodegradable plastics is that their degradation contributes to global warming through the release of carbon dioxide as a main end product. This does not apply to starch based plastics as they are formed from carbon which is already in the ecosystem (via photosynthesis). Another disadvantage with biodegradable plastic is that degradation occurs very slowly, if at all, in a sealed landfill. Also, biodegradable plastics cannot be mixed with other plastic sent for recycling: This damages the recycled plastic and reduces its value.

1) Cellulose is the most plentiful carbohydrate in the world; 40 percent of all organic matter is cellulose! 2) Starch is found in corn (maize), potatoes, wheat, tapioca (cassava), and some other plants. Annual world production of starch is well over 70 billion pounds, with much of it being used for non-food purposes, like making paper, cardboard, textile sizing, and adhesives. 3) Collagen is the most abundant protein found in mammals. Gelatin is denatured collagen, and is used in sausage casings, capsules for drugs and vitamin preparations, and other miscellaneous industrial applications including photography. 4) Casein, commercially produced mainly from cow's skimmed milk, is used in adhesives, binders, protective coatings, and other products. 5) Soy protein and zein (from corn) are abundant plant proteins. They are used for making adhesives and coatings for paper and cardboard. 6) Polyesters are produced by bacteria, and can be made commercially on large scales through fermentation processes. They are now being used in biomedical applications. A number of other natural materials can be made into polymers that are biodegradable. For example: 1) Lactic acid is now commercially produced on large scales through the fermentation of sugar feedstocks obtained from sugar beets or sugar cane, or from


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the conversion of starch from corn, potato peels, or other starch source. It can be polymerized to produce poly (lactic acid), which is already finding commercial applications in drug encapsulation and biodegradable medical devices. 2) Triglycerides can also be polymerized. Triglycerides make up a large part of the storage lipids in animal and plant cells. Over sixteen billion pounds of vegetable oils are produced in the United States each year, mainly from soybean, flax, and rapeseed. Triglycerides are another promising raw material for producing plastics. Constituting about 50 percent of the bioplastics market, thermoplastic starch, such as Plastarch Material, currently represents the most important and widely used bioplastic. Pure starch possesses the characteristic of being able to absorb humidity and is thus being used for the production of drug capsules in the pharmaceutical sector. Flexibiliser and plasticiser such as sorbitol and glycerine are added so that starch can also be processed thermo-plastically. By varying the amounts of these additives, the characteristic of the material can be tailored to specific needs (also called "thermo-plastical starch"). Starch-based bioplastics are important not only because starch is the least expensive biopolymer but because it can be processed by all of the methods used for synthetic polymers, like film extrusion and injection molding. Eating utensils, plates, cups and other products have been made with starch-based plastics. First, starch is harvested from corn, wheat or potatoes, and then microorganisms transform it into lactic acid, a monomer. Finally, the lactic acid is chemically treated to cause the molecules of lactic acid to link up into long chains or polymers, which bond together to form a plastic called polylactide (PLA). Polylactide acid (PLA) is a transparent plastic made from natural resources. It not only resembles conventional petrochemical mass plastics (like PE or PP) in its characteristics, but it can also be processed easily on standard equipment that already exists for the production of conventional plastics. PLA and PLA-Blends generally come in the form of granulates with various properties and are used in the plastic processing industry for the production of foil, moulds, tins, cups, bottles and other packaging. PLA can be used for products such as plant pots and disposable nappies. It has been commercially available since 1990, and certain blends have proved successful in medical implants, sutures and drug delivery systems because of their capacity to dissolve away over time. However, because PLA is significantly more expensive than conventional plastics it has failed to win widespread consumer acceptance. The biopolymer poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) is polyester produced from renewable raw materials. Its characteristics are similar to those of the petrochemical-produced plastic polypropylene. Interest in PHB is currently very high. Companies worldwide are aiming to either begin production of PHB or to expand their current production capacity. Some estimate that this could result in a price reduction to fewer than 5 Euros per kilogram. However, that is still four times the market price of polyethylene at February 2007. The South American sugar industry, for example, has decided to expand PHB production to an industrial scale. PHB is distinguished primarily by its physical characteristics. It produces transparent film at a melting point higher than 130 degrees Celsius, and is biodegradable without residue. In research laboratories it has been shown that soy protein, with and without cellulose extenders, can be processed with modern extrusion and injection molding methods.


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Many water soluble biopolymers such as starch, gelatin, soy protein, and casein form flexible films when properly plasticized. Although such films are regarded mainly as food coatings, it is recognized that they have potential use as nonsupported stand-alone sheeting for food packaging and other purposes. If starch-protein plastics were commercialized, used food containers and serviceware collected from fast food restaurants could be pasteurized and turned into animal feed. Polyesters are now produced from natural resources-like starch and sugars-through largescale fermentation processes, and used to manufacture water-resistant bottles, eating utensils, and other products. Poly (lactic acid) has become a significant commercial polymer. Its clarity makes it useful for recyclable and biodegradable packaging, such as bottles, yogurt cups, and candy wrappers. It has also been used for food service ware, lawn and food waste bags, coatings for paper and cardboard, and fibers-for clothing, carpets, sheets and towels, and wall coverings. In biomedical applications, it is used for sutures, prosthetic materials, and materials for drug delivery. Triglycerides have recently become the basis for a new family of sturdy composites. With glass fiber reinforcement they can be made into long-lasting durable materials with applications in the manufacture of agricultural equipment, the automotive industry, construction, and other areas. Fibers other than glass can also be used in the process, like fibers from jute, hemp, flax, wood, and even straw or hay. If straw could replace wood in composites now used in the construction industry, it would provide a new use for an abundant, rapidly renewable agricultural commodity and at the same time conserve less rapidly renewable wood fiber. PA 11 or Nylon 11 is a biopolymer derived from vegetable oil. It is also known under the tradename Rilsan®. PA 11 belongs to the technical polymers family and is not biodegradable. Its properties are similar than PA 12 although emissions of greenhouse gases and consumption of non-renewable resources are reduced during its production. Its thermal resistance is also superior to PA 12. It is used in high performance applications as automotive fuel lines, pneumatic airbrake tubing, electrical anti-termite cable sheathing, oil & gas flexible pipes & control fluid umbilicals, sports shoes, electronic device components, catheters, etc.

Plastics produced by bacteria
Biodegradable natural plastics can also be manufactured from bacteria. Within bacterial cells, granules called polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) are stored. Bacteria can be easily grown in bulk culture, and the plastic harvested. Genetic engineering can also be deployed as a novel biodegradable plastic generating tool. Corn plants containing the bacterial gene for producing PHA have been shown to produce the same variety of plastics within their cells.


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Unfortunately, as with PLA, PHA is significantly more expensive to produce and, as yet, it is not having any success in replacing the widespread use of traditional petrochemical plastics. Indeed, biodegradable plastic products currently on the market are from 2 to 10 times more expensive than traditional plastics. And because many bioplastics are reliant on fossil fuel derived energy for their manufacturing, even with today's rising oil prices, that gap is not closing very fast. But environmentalists argue that the cheaper price of traditional plastics does not reflect their true cost when their full impact is considered. For example, when we buy a plastic bag we don’t pay for its collection and waste disposal after we use it. If we added up these sorts of associated costs, traditional plastics would cost more and biodegradable plastics might be more competitive.

Environmental costs
Many environmentalists believe the price we pay for a product should reflect its 'life cycle' cost. Traditional plastic packaging is an example where the environmental cost is not reflected in the price we pay for the product. It is relatively cheap to manufacture and this is reflected in its inexpensive price. But this doesn’t factor in the costs of disposing of the plastic, its impact on wildlife or the large volume of landfill it takes up. How green are green plastics? The usual range for biodegradability lies between 60-90% decomposition within two to three months in standard composting environments. The polymer molecules of conventional plastics are too large and their underlying chemical bonds too tight to be broken apart by microbes. Biodegradable plastics that are easily decomposed by microorganisms persist for much shorter time in nature, and they may provide viable alternatives. The chemical bonds of biodegradable compounds are easily destroyed by a variety of bacteria over a small period of time that facilitates their decomposition. Since 1993 the International Standards Organization (ISO) has been developing life-cycle assessment (LCA) programs that would provide the analytical tools for producing an inventory analysis of the material and energy inputs and outputs of a product. Through


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LCA it will be possible to compare the environmental impacts of various green plastics with one another and with the conventional polyolefins that make up more than 90 % of current plastics production. LCA of plastic products is still in the early stages of development. Certain trends, however, are beginning to emerge. A review of 20 LCA studies of biodegradable polymers (M. Patel, Presentation at the 7th World Conference on Biodegradable Polymers and Plastics, Pisa, Italy, June 2002) indicates that starch, the major component of approximately 75 % of green plastics production, offers important environmental benefits compared to conventional polymers. Compared to starch polymers the environmental benefits of poly (lactic acid), currently accounting for 10-15% of production, and of biodegradable polymers made from nonrenewable resources; accounting for approximately 10% of production, seem to be smaller, but still greater than conventional polymers. For microbial polyesters, which currently make up a very small part of total green plastics production, the environmental advantage seems to be small (or perhaps nonexistent), but the fermentation technologies for producing them are among the most recently developed, and both the production method and the scale of production can influence evaluations of the overall environmental balance. While many bioplastics are biodegradable, some are not - referred to as durable. Even some petrochemical-based plastics are biodegradable. The Ecoflex range of biodegradable plastics manufactured by BASF of Germany is an example of this type. This material is used as an additive to improve the performance of many commercial bioplastics. There is an internationally agreed standard that defines how quickly and to what extent a biodegradable plastic must be degraded under commercial composting conditions EN13432. This is published by the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO) and is recognised in many countries, including all of Europe, Japan and the US. However, it is designed only for the aggressive conditions of commercial composting units. There is no standard applicable to home composting conditions. The term biodegradable plastic is often also used by producers of specially modified petrochemical-based plastics which appear to biodegrade. A little explanation is needed here. Traditional plastics such as polyethylene are degraded by ultra-violet light and oxygen. To stop this process, and to make the plastics usable, manufacturers add stabilisation chemicals. By adding a controlled amount of degradation initiator to the plastic it is possible to achieve a controlled disintegration process driven by the ultraviolet light in sunlight or by atmospheric oxygen. The North American company EPI is a leading player in this type of additive technology. This degradation process is highly effective. However, this type of plastic is best referred to as "degradable plastic" or "oxy-degradable plastic" because the process is not initiated by microbial action. Some degradable plastics manufacturers argue that, once a certain level of degradation of the plastic has been achieved, the degraded residue will be attacked by microbes. However, this route has yet to be proven. In any case, these degradable materials do not meet the requirements of the EN13432 commercial composting standard.

Other market issues


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Many bioplastics also lack the performance and ease of processing of traditional materials albeit materials such as Bioplast from Stanelco have closed this performance gap. Polylactic acid plastic is being used by a handful of small companies for water bottles. But shelf life is limited because the plastic is permeable to water - the bottles lose their contents and slowly deform. However, bioplastics are seeing some use in Europe, where they account for 60% of the biodegradable materials market. The most common end use market is for packaging materials. Japan has also been a pioneer in bioplastics, incorporating them into electronics and automobiles. While production of most bioplastics results in reduced carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional alternatives, there are some real concerns that the creation of a global bio-based economy could contribute to an accelerated rate of deforestation if not managed effectively. There are associated concerns over the impact on water supply and soil erosion. There are also fears that bioplastics will damage existing recycling projects. Packaging such as HDPE milk bottles and PET water and soft drinks bottles is easily identified and hence setting up a recycling infrastructure has been quite successful in many parts of the world. Polylactic acid and PET do not mix - as bottles made from polylactic acid cannot be distinguished from PET bottles by the consumer there is a risk that recycled PET could be rendered unusable. This could be overcome by ensuring distinctive bottle types or by investing in suitable sorting technology. However, the first route is unreliable and the second costly. Genetic modification (GM) is also a challenge for the bioplastics industry. None of the currently available bioplastics - which can be considered first generation products require the use of GM crops. However, it is not possible to ensure corn used to make bioplastic in North America is GM-free. European consumers are hostile to any products that are linked to the GM industry. As a result, some UK retailers such as Sainsbury’s will not use bioplastic manufactured in the US, such as Natureworks polylactic acid. There is currently no commercial European source of polylactic acid bioplastic. There is also concern that the route from corn to bioplastics is not the most efficient. Looking further ahead, some of the second generation bioplastics manufacturing technologies under development employ the "plant factory" model, using GM versions of plants such as switchgrass and sugarcane to maximise yield. The US Company Metabolix is a pioneer in this second generation technology. However, a change in consumer perception of GM technology in Europe will be required for these to be widely accepted.

Market situation
These days’ plastics are predominantly made from crude oil. However, the increasing hunger for energy worldwide and also political instability in the large oil exporting countries have led to a dramatic increase in the price of oil in recent years. A consistently low oil price, as was seen throughout the 90s, is not very likely in the future. In this context, renewable resources are becoming a more viable and promising alternative for the plastics industry. However, as energy is used in the growing, harvesting and conversion of agricultural crops to bioplastics immunity to rising oil prices is sometimes overestimated.


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Because of the fragmentation in the market it is difficult to estimate the total market size for bioplastics, but estimates by SRI Consulting put global consumption in 2006 at around 85,000 tones. In contrast, global consumption of all flexible packaging is estimated at around 12.3 million tones.

Adding the prefix "bio-", misrepresenting a plastic compound as biodegradable, or confusing product labeling has become commonplace lately. Several certification schemes have therefore been set up based on the EN 13432 industrial norm and the French NF U52001 norm, products made out any raw plastic material pretending to be biodegradable, are tested as to their true and biodegradability and compostability. Consumer products and packaging which passed the tests prescribed in the testing protocol laid down in these norms, may carry a special label. So far starch based plastics, PLA based plastics and certain aliphatic-aromatic co-polyester compounds such as succinates and adipates, have obtained these certificates. Additivated plastics sold as fotodegradable, oxobiodegradable have not yet received these certificates and will probably not be eligible as the additives generally contain heavy metals such as cobalt and cannot show a biodegradation whereby over 90% of the plastic mass is converted into biomass and subsequently into carbon dioxide and water. Due to their photo- or oxo degradation, these additivated plastics are not suitable for recycling and can only be properly disposed of by incineration or landfill.

Packaging Because of their biological biodegradability, the use of bioplastics is especially popular in the packaging sector. The use of bioplastics for shopping bags is already very common. After their initial use they can be reused as bags for organic waste and then be composted. Trays and containers for fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat, bottles for soft drinks and dairy products and blister foils for fruit and vegetables are also already widely manufactured from bioplastics. Catering Products Catering products belong to the group of perishable plastics. Disposable crockery and cutlery, as well as pots and bowls, pack foils for hamburgers and straws are being dumped after a single use, together with food-leftovers, forming huge amounts of waste, particularly at big events. The use of bioplastics offers significant advantages not only in an ecological sense but also in an economical sense. Non Packaging Applications outside packaging include mobile phone casings (NEC), carpet fibres (Dupont Sorona), and car interiors (Mazda). The French company, Arkema, produces a grade of bioplastic called Rilsan, which is being used in fuel line and plastic pipe applications. In these areas, the goal is obviously not biodegradability, but to create items from sustainable resources.

Paper Bags for Packaging:
Bags made from paper are bio-degradable and hence environment friendly.


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Tao Media Institute for paper bags (carry bags) technology has been playing a dynamic role in the eradication of plastic bags and creating awareness about the use of ecofriendly paper bags instead among the people in and around Nilgiris. The Institute was established in 1999 at Ooty in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. For the first time in the world, Tao Media after 4 years of intensive Research & Development introduced cheaper, affordable as well as strong eco-friendly paper bags which were equivalent price to plastic bags. Tao Media has made an industrial revolution, producing paper bags by recycled reprocessed and waste papers. The total investment required for setting up an eco-friendly paper bag machinery manufacturing unit is Semi Mechanized Unit Automatic unit INR Rs. 60,000/Rs.4,50,000/US 3,800 $ 20,250 $

EarthShell®’s disposable dinnerware
EarthShell is made in the USA using starch from renewable potatoes and corn, mixed with abundant limestone. This revolutionary, patented technology delivers the hard-tofind combination of convenience, quality and environmental responsibility. EarthShell’s new technology is also bringing a new generation of environmentally responsible products to the foodservice packaging industry. Universities, hospitals and many other businesses and organizations are using EarthShell to reach their sustainability goals. EarthShell® has been specifically designed to deliver environmental benefits throughout the life of the product – from ingredients though manufacturing to disposal. This unique combination of environmental responsibility and premium performance makes EarthShell an affordable, guilt-free alternative to traditional paper, plastic and foam disposables. Unlike plastic and foam packaging made from petroleum and paper products made from trees, EarthShell is made in the USA from a revolutionary new material using: • Starch from renewable potatoes and corn • Limestone, an abundant resource • Air and water • A very small amount of recycled fiber and other processing agents • A micro-thin, biodegradable coating Mindful manufacturing EarthShell’s patented technology delivers many environmental advantages compared to traditional paper, plastic and foam disposables: • Requires less total energy to make • Generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions • Uses fewer fossil fuels in production • Produces lower amounts of a wide variety of air and water emissions Responsible disposal EarthShell completes its life cycle by providing environmentally responsible disposal benefits: • 100% biodegradable through composting


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• Take up less landfill space than traditional paper, plastic or foam • Breaks down completely in water and is not harmful to marine life EarthShell will quickly break down in a commercial compost environment and then biodegrade completely in compost or soil within a two-year period. Manufacturing of EarthShell: The manufacturing process is very much like making waffles. The ingredients (primarily crushed limestone, starch from potatoes and corn, water and fiber) are mixed together, resulting in a "batter" which is placed between two heated molds. The water in the batter turns to steam, raising the pressure in the molds, which forms and sets the products. The biodegradable laminate is then applied for premium strength and performance. Unlike plastic or foam, EarthShell is microwavable; and unlike paper, it won’t get soggy while heating liquids and greasy foods. EarthShell does not become hot to the touch so we can remove plates or bowls from the microwave immediately without burning our hands, and EarthShell’s natural insulating properties help keep hot foods hot, and cold foods cold. EarthShell biodegrades completely in water (oceans) and its by-products are not toxic to marine animals. Many organizations support the unique technology that goes into EarthShell. These groups include Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Earth, American Oceans Campaign and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All EarthShell products are safe for food applications meeting FDA requirements. . We can temporarily store moist foods on EarthShell in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. We can store dry foods on EarthShell for any length of time. Extended freezer storage is not recommended. The natural protective laminate maintains EarthShell’s high performance during use. But, because EarthShell is biodegradable, it is not recommended for dishwasher use. Also EarthShell is not designed to be used near an open flame or extremely hot heat source. Like many Styrofoam disposables, EarthShell may make a crackling noise when pressure is applied to it. This crackling does not compromise the strength or performance of EarthShell. It’s simply a by-product of the composite technology used to make EarthShell. EarthShell is competitively priced with other premium brands, which means that we can choose it as a premium food service packaging option without having to pay more – and its unique environmental benefits offer added value.

Hartmann - the only European producer of sustainable packaging
They are specialists in designing and producing customised, environmentally friendly protective packaging for eggs and the industry. Their high-value protective packaging is made from natural paper fibre. Moulded-fibre packaging is cost effective, and being environmentally friendly, it is a protective packaging that enhances product and brand image. Moulded-fibre packaging is a sustainable packaging made from recycled paper. It not only meets the essential requirements of packaging, but also the demand for environmental care. Both the packaging itself and the Hartmann manufacturing processes conform to high quality and environmental standards.


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Their sustainable packaging is cost effective, and being environmentally friendly, it enhances product and brand image. Customised solutions: Hartmann specialises in the design and manufacture of customised, environmentally friendly, precision moulded-fibre packaging at minimal cost for industrial purposes such as consumer electronics. Applying advanced packaging technology to help preserve the environment. Hartmann is the only European producer of sustainable packaging who can design customised food packaging solutions with several compartments and with the required barrier film for specific food product.

Jute and Mesta as Packaging material:
The main advantages of storing and transporting agricultural products in raw jute sacks are the porosity or gap for air and moisture movements between the packed commodity and surroundings and hence prolong the life of agricultural commodities, which are in need of this property. Raw jute fibre absorbs water and hence minimizes the problems of drying of packed commodities during transport and storage. Other advantages are amenability to build high stacks maximizing the use of warehouse space, non vulnerability to degradation by ultraviolet rays of sunlight pre-empting the use of protective additives and excellent drop test performance thereby providing cushioning for vulnerable commodities like root crops. These general advantages of jute sacks are independent of the type of commodity packed. Moreover raw jute bagging is especially suitable for certain commodities like rice, maize, wheat, pulses, cocoa, coffee, edible nuts, potatoes, cotton and wool. Jute bags used in packaging food grains in India are known to have several repeated reuses and provide price advantages over synthetic bags in the long run.

Eco-labeling of plastic
Since, Biodegradable plastic at the moment is uneconomical; more attention was given to make use of plastic waste which is eco-friendly from the point of natural resources since the basic raw material is by-product of petroleum industry. In addition the manufacture of plastics, consumes less energy and also it gives greater coverage since it affords the desired protection in very low thickness. As such, there is considerable savings in tare weight of packaging materials. Instead of removal of huge mass of garbage, by segregation the respective materials are directly sent to the agency which recycles and recovers and pays for the same. The fund thus generated meets the cost of disposal of garbage. Examples are available where communities by co-operating in segregation of packaging wastes, generate surplus funds in addition to meeting the cost of disposal. Through eco-labeling of plastics by way of accepted convention, the recovery and recycling of plastics has been made easy. In advanced countries, on all plastic containers and bags there is recycling sign below which there is a number which helps in identifying the plastics to assist in recycling. In Germany, they have introduced the green dot sign by which the buyer is able to identify the package which is eco-friendly. In addition to the above, the following steps are in vogue in advanced countries to reduce packaging wastes. Pierra J Louis, (General Secretary, World Packaging Organisation,


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President, International Packaging Club, IPC) lists the following areas to achieve the above object. 1) Lowering the weight of packaging materials without decreasing the level of protection or consumer safety. 2) Avoiding over-packaging. 3) Developing new materials that are more easily recyclable. 4) Developing new recycling technologies. 5) Substitution for packages that will facilitate the collecting / sorting operations after use. 6) Switching to packaging materials and packages that can be incinerated easily without generating hazardous substances. 7) Engineering new returnable packaging systems for both consumer and industrial goods. In our country only Eco-labeling of plastic will not help unless the community takes responsibility in segregating the garbage. We dump all the materials which we want to dispose into the garbage including food waste, garden waste, packaging waste and all unwanted materials, which cannot be recycled or recovered. Unfortunately the rag-picker selects from the garbage materials which can be easily recycled. In addition, stray animals and crows further spread the garbage and the food waste resulting in unpleasant smell and mosquito nuisance. In advanced countries, in addition to segregating at home and industries, even offices have suitable collection bins to segregate the stationery waste. As such, the first and foremost requirement is segregation of garbage at domestic level, industrial units, and even in market places. We must eco-label our plastic containers and bags according to accepted international convention as given in the following table: 1 PET POLYESTER 2 HDPE HIGH DENSITY POLYETHYLENE 3 V VINYLE (PVC) 4 LDPE LOW DENSITY POLYETHYLNE 5 PP POLYPROPYLENE 6 PS POLYSTYRENE 7 OTHERS UNCLASSIFIED As a first step this should be introduced in the case of mineral water bottle, plastic containers for various food products and plastic bags and sachets. Only in the case of food products, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics virgin material should used. In other cases the packaging used should contain a major portion of recycled waste including post consumer waste and the percentage may be indicated on the package, along with the ecolabel mark. The Government should encourage recovery plants at major consumption centers and necessary incentives should be given to entrepreneurs to start these units. To cite an example, in advanced countries polyester bottles are recycled to a great extent and the products for which they are used are strapping containers for non-food items and injection moulded industrial products. Garden wastage which occupies considerable volume should be segregated and composting facilities should be established. In the case of secondary packaging, recent techniques such as Shrink packaging / stretch packaging should be adopted to minimize use of paper based materials to reduce garbage. In the case of transport packages wood should be used wherever it is absolutely


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necessary. We can minimize the use of wood by replacing wooden boxes with crates or sheathed crates. For sheathing we should not use plywood which is not eco-friendly. Instead, we may use corrugated board or solid board made of cellulosic material. Shipping containers made of corrugated board or solid board should be used wherever possible since it can be made from recycled materials and also from agricultural waste which are replenished.

Eco-friendly Packaging has lots of present and future implications. For the plastic based packaging, principles of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” will have to be seriously followed. New technologies to make Biodegradable-plastics economically viable are thrust area for Research and Developments. Fortunately worldwide government, nongovernment and corporate, are taking it very seriously. New innovation and creativity in Eco-Friendly Packaging are coming up for patents. Hope we will see many more healthy trends in packaging and waste management.

1) 2) 3) 4) 5)$first?opendocument 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) Survey of Indian Agriculture, 2007. The Hindu Publications


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