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Background of study

This research is about introducing a new plastic based product in order to overcome the
problems involving excessive use of non-biodegradable plastics in nursery and houses. The new
biodegradable poly-bag that will be introduced has its advantages as it is friendlier to
environment compared to the existing poly-bag. The difference between these two type of polybag will be discussed in the findings.

The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes who publicly demonstrated it at the
1962 Great International Exhibition in London. The material called Parkesine was organic
material derived from cellulose that once heated could be mold and retained its shape when
cooled. After the First World War, improvements in chemical technology led to an explosion in
new forms of plastics; mass production began around 1940s and 1950s. Polypropylene was
found in 1954 by Giulio Natta and began to be manufactured in 1957. Among the earliest
examples in the wave of new polymers were polystyrene (PS), first produced in 1930s and
polyvinyl chloride in the late 1920s. The plastics bag was only introduced in the 1970s but its use
has expanded due to its high versatility. The plastic bag is an efficient way to carry goods. It is
hygienic, light in weight yet considerable strong.

Plastic bag are made from both natural gas and petroleum. If the plastic is incinerated, it
increases carbon emission and if it placed in a landfill, it becomes a carbon sink. In terms of its
energy, it takes 0.48 mega joules to produce one high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic bag.
Taking into account its energy consumption, about 1 square meter of natural land is required to
absorb the greenhouse gases generated from the production of about 14 HDPE bags. Each year,
over 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. We would need to set aside a
natural area almost the size of the state of Sabah just to absorb the greenhouse gases generated
from the production of these entire plastics bag. Petroleum-based plastics accumulation in
landfills takes up valuable space and threatens the environment. Moreover, the amount of

petroleum used to make a plastic bag would drive a car about 115 meters. It would take only 14
plastic bags to drive one mile.

Although plastics can be recycled and reused again, the facilities that are required to sort and
process the various types of plastics separately are neither available and nor economical. At such,
the process recycling of plastic bags is still very low and not yet a practical option in Malaysia.
Plastic bags that are disposed in garbage end up in dumps and landfills. It can take up to 1000
years for plastic bags to degrade and breakdown completely. Plastic bag that improperly
disposed can clog waterways and contribute toward floods. Bag that make it to the ocean are
harmful to marine life. At least 267 different species are known to have suffered from
entanglement or ingestion of plastic marine debris for example turtles often choke on plastics
after mistaking the floating debris for food. Plastics constitute 24% of landfill volume, the
second highest after food waste.

Table 1: plastic statistic source by Smart Green Tips, Earth 911

Plastic Statistics
Total number of plastic bags used worldwide annually

1 trillion

Total number of plastic bags China consumes everyday

3 billion

Total number of plastic bags used every minute

1 million

Total number of years it takes for a plastic bag to degrade

1,000 years

Total amount of plastic bags that were discarded in 2008

3.5 million tons

Total amount of plastic floating in every square mile of ocean

46,000 pieces

Average amount of plastic bags consumed per family in 4 trips to the grocery


Percent of plastic made every year that will end up in the ocean


Total amount of plastic bags used by U.S. citizens every year

100 billion

Average amount of plastic bottles a U.S. household will use each year

500 plastic bottles

Percent of household waste that is plastic


Several countries have banned the use of plastic bags or charge a tax on them. China which uses
3 billion plastic bags a day banned the production of ultra-thin plastic bags. In 2002, Ireland

introduced a tax on plastic bags, reducing their use by 90%. San Francisco became the first
American city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets in 2007 and the state of California
requires large stores to take back plastic bags and encourage their reuse. In Malaysian, the call to
ban its use has been mooted now and then with little success. The latest is the Subang Jaya
Municipal Councils plastic free campaign launched last August with a declared aim of turning
the Selangor municipality into the first place in the country to eliminate the use of plastic bags by
2010. The public is encouraged to switch to paper bags, biodegradable carries or their own
shopping bag.

During the 1920s, Maurice Lemoigne, a French researcher, discovered the first biodegradable
plastics from his work with the bacterium Bacillus megaterium. Decades later, microbiologists in
the United States and Great Britain independently discovered PHB (polyhydroxyalkanoate) in
1957 and 1958, respectively.
Biodegradable plastic those made from organic material like corn starch, and those that use
petroleum like the normal plastics but with an additive that speed up disintegration. These types
of plastics would be biodegradable and better for environment. According to the Malaysian
Plastic manufacturer Association (MPMA) the use of bidegradable plastics will reduce the
proportion on non-biodegradable and non-ozone depleting plastics bags.

Biodegradable broadly means that an object can be biologically broken down. Under proper
conditions biodegradable plastics capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living
organism. Starch powder has been mixed with plastic as a filler to allow it to degrade more
easily. It has potential to be disposed of in a way that is less damaging to the environment.
Biodegradable plastics have a variety of applications, from agriculture and food packaging to
biomedical devices and tableware.

Example of bidegradable plastics.

1. Polyanhydrides.
2. Polyvinyl alcohol
3. Most of the starch derivatives


Statement of problems

The excessive use of non-biodegradable plastic n nursery and houses has affected the
environment such as the increases of the waste.


Terms of reference


Objectives of the study

1. To promote the biodegradable poly-bag to nurseries and houses.

2. To identify the problem at the nurseries and houses when using the chemical-based
plastic for their plants.


Research questions

Objective 1
To promote the biodegradable poly-bag to nurseries and houses.

Research Question 1
What are the level of knowledge of people who work at the nurseries and housewives or
gardener at houses about current poly-bag plastics and biodegradable plastic?

Objective 2
To identify the problem at the nurseries and houses when using the chemical-based plastic for
their plants.

Research Question 2

What are the related problems or disadvantages of using the current poly-bag to nurseries and


Significance of study

The statistic number shows that the plastics contribute about 500 million to 1 trillion wastes
every year. The findings of this study are important to help the people to reduce the number of
waste and to acknowledge them with the information about this friendly environment to reduce
the waste and at the same time they can make the environment greener.


Scope of the study

The scope of this research was about the uses of poly-bag or plastic used at the nurseries and
houses. In this research, the biodegradable plastic will be introduced as a replacement for the
current poly-bag existed as it is not environmental friendly. This research is also about the
biodegradable plastic produced acts as organic manure which will supply the organic needed by
the plant. The organic manure that supplied to the plant is based on the substance used to make
the biodegradable plastic.




Definition of plastic

Based on Tooling University, plastic can be defined as a material consisting of very large
molecules characterized by light weight, high corrosion resistance, high strength-to-weight
ratios, and low melting points. Most plastics are easily shaped or formed.
Plastic also can be known as a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers
such as polyethylene, PVC, nylon, etc., that can be molded into shape while soft, and then set
into a rigid or slightly elastic form according to the Oxford Dictionary.
Whereas, the science dictionary stated that plastic as any of numerous substances that can be
shaped and molded when subjected to heat or pressure. Plastics are easily shaped because they
consist of long-chain molecules known as polymers, which do not break apart when flexed.
Plastics are usually artificial resins but can also be natural substances, as in certain cellular
derivatives and shellac. Plastics can be pressed into thin layers, formed into objects, or drawn
into fibers for use in textiles. Most do not conduct electricity well, are low in density, and are
often very tough. Polyvinyl chloride, methyl methacrylate, and polystyrene are plastics


History of plastic

2.2.1 The First Man-Made Plastic Parkesine

The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes who publicly demonstrated it at the
1862 Great International Exhibition in London. The material called Parkesine was an organic
material derived from cellulose that once heated could be molded, and retained its shape when

2.2.2 Timeline Precursors

1839 - Natural Rubber - method of

processing invented by Charles Goodyear
1843 - Vulcanite - Thomas Hancock
1843 - Gutta-Percha - William
1856 - Shellac - Alfred Critchlow, Samuel
1856 - Bois Durci - Francois Charles Lepag

2.2.3 Timeline - Beginning of the Plastic Era with Semi Synthetics

1839 Polystyrene or PS
discovered - Eduard

1894 - Viscose Rayon Charles Frederick

Cross, Edward John


1863 - Cellulose
Nitrate or
Celluloid - John
Wesley Hyatt

1862 - Parkesine
- Alexander

1872 - Polyvinyl
Chloride or PVC first created by
Eugen Baumann

Timeline - Thermosetting Plastics and Thermoplastics

1908 - Cellophane - Jacques E. Brandenberger

1909 - First true plastic Phenol-Formaldehyde tradenamed Bakelite Leo Hendrik


1926 - Vinyl or PVC - Walter Semon invented a plasticized PVC.

1927 - Cellulose Acetate

1933 - Polyvinylidene chloride or Saran also called PVDC - accidentally discovered

by Ralph Wiley, a Dow Chemical lab worker.

1935 - Low-density polyethylene or LDPE - Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett

1936 - Acrylic or Polymethyl Methacrylate

1937 - Polyurethanes tradenamed Igamid for plastics materials and Perlon for fibers.
- Otto Bayer and co-workers discovered and patented the chemistry of polyurethanes

1938 - Polystyrene made practical

1938 - Polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE tradenamed Teflon - Roy Plunkett

1939 - Nylon and Neoprene considered a replacement for silk and a synthetic rubber
respectively Wallace Hume Carothers

1941 - Polyethylene Terephthalate or Pet - Whinfield and Dickson

1942 - Low Density Polyethylene

1942 - Unsaturated Polyester also called PET patented by John Rex Whinfield and
James Tennant Dickson

1951 - High-density polyethylene or HDPE tradenamed Marlex - Paul Hogan and

Robert Banks

1951 - Polypropylene or PP - Paul Hogan and Robert Banks

1953 - Saran Wrap introduced by Dow Chemicals.

1954 - Styrofoam a type of foamed polystyrene foam was invented by Ray McIntire
for Dow Chemicals

1964 Polyimide

1970 - Thermoplastic Polyester this includes trademarked Dacron, Mylar, Melinex,

Teijin, and Tetoron

1978 - Linear Low Density Polyethylene

1985 - Liquid Crystal Polymers



Classification of plastic

Plastics, depending on their physical properties, may be classified as thermoplastic or

thermosetting materials. Thermoplastic materials can be formed into desired shapes under
heat and pressure and become solids on cooling. If they are subjected to the same conditions
of heat and pressure, they can be remolded. Thermosetting materials acquire infallibility








Plastics may be classified also according to their chemical sources. The twenty or more








Cellulose Plastics: Include the cellulose nitrates and cellulose acetates. The cellulose
nitrate plastics are the oldest in this group, and "Celluloid" is the oldest example. These
plastics are made from cotton or wood pulp.

Synthetic Resin Plastics: Include the phenol formaldehyde, phenolic furfural, urea
formaldehyde, vinyl, styrene, and acrylic plastics. These plastics are made from phenol,
formaldehyde, urea, acetylene, petroleum, glycerol, and phthalic anhydride.

Protein Plastics: Casein plastics are the most common type in the protein group. They
are made from milk. Other protein plastics are made from soy beans, coffee beans,
peanuts, and other agricultural products.

Natural Resins: Include shellac, asphalt, rosin, amber, and pitch. These materials with
fillers are usually cold moulded.





This section discusses the methodology of the research. In this research, there are two mainly
objectives which are to identify the problem at the nurseries and houses when using the
chemical-based plastic for their plants and at the same time to promote the biodegradable polybag to nurseries and houses. In order to assess and evaluate the problem at the nurseries and
houses, some random people were chosen. Data for the research were collected by using some
method. They were questionnaire and also by using electronic resources such as e-journal,
internet, websites and other online materials.


Research instruments

This research used both the quantitative and qualitative research methodology. The method used
to collect the data were questionnaire for primary data and electronic resources for secondary
data. For the first method, a set of questionnaire consisting 11 questions was developed. It
contains closed-ended question-types such as yes-no and listing. The questionnaires then were
distributed to random people to get the results. The results also known as quantitative data where
the researcher need to make suitable analysis.
The qualitative as well as secondary data for the research were electronic resources. The sources
from electronic resources such as e-journal, internet and websites that were related to poly-bag
and biodegradable poly-bag were gathered and compiled to get the better picture of the research.
Comparison can be made if other researcher already done the same topics. So in the end, this
new carry out research can proof the validity of the other research before this.


Respondent of the study


The respondent of the study were several people who related fully with nurseries and some
random people who researcher saw fit to this research. In May 2013, a total 20 questionnaires
were distributed to people at different age and places. Of this numbers, three were male
respondents while the rest were female respondents.


Research procedure

Before the data collections, the problems regarding the using of plastic poly-bag and some search
about biodegradable poly-bag were done. From the data collected, a set questionnaire was set up
and distributed to the random people. The questionnaires were distributed at various places.
Respondents were approached with initial question whether they had done some planting at
home or before this before the questionnaire was given to them.

Search for


Distributed to


Figure 3.1: The summary of the procedures for questionnaire and interview

Data analysis


After getting the results, to analyze the data, all the questions asked in the questionnaire was
inserted into Microsoft Excel to do the analysis. The results were presented through a bar chart,
pie chart, tables and other descriptive statistics. Interview data provided a way to support the data
from questionnaire. The analysis interview went through the coding technique using
identification of questions, which that can be relate with questionnaire questions that emerged
from the analysis.






The aims of this research are to promote the biodegradable poly-bag to nurseries and
houses and to identify the problem at the nurseries and houses when using the chemical-based
plastic for their plants. In order to achieve these objectives, the data was collected randomly from
different average of gender and age by using questionnaire. The questionnaire is about the usage
of poly-bag instead of biodegradable bag for gardening and their opinion about the replacement
of poly-bag into the biodegradable bag. However, in this analysis and findings, the most critical
and important issues will be identified and selected that need to be tackled and resolved to be
further elaborate in our conclusion and recommendation. The analysis of data revealed the

4.1.1 Gender of respondents

Table 1.0: Gender of respondent that answer the questionnaires.

Percentage (%)




From the table above, 15% (3 number of respondent) is male and 85% (17 number of
respondent) is female. The difference between the male and female is large which is 70%.
This is because, female respondents tends to gardening as their hobby during their free
time and male does not gardening because their probably working.

4.1.2 Average age of the respondents


Chart of average age versus percentage%


Chart of average age versus





50 and above

Chart 2.0: Average age of respondent that answers the questionnaires.

Chart above shows the average age of respondent that answers the questionnaires. The average
age between 20-30 is the highest with 55% while the average age between 41-50 is the lowest
with 5% only. The average age between 50 and above was approximately half the percentage
between 20-30 with 25%. At early age, peoples usually have high energy to done the gardening.
Besides that, at this average age, they always have hire desired in order to make their house
beautiful by planting a beautiful flowers. Besides planting beautiful flowers, they also plant for
vegetables and herbs. Usually they used a poly-bag before transfer it into pots. At average age
between 41-50 seems to be the lowest with 5% because at this age, they do not have enough
energy to o the gardening. Maybe at this average age, this people do not interest to do the

4.1.3 Average amount of poly-bag that respondent used per month


Average amount of poly-bag used by the

respondent per month


Chart 3.0: Average amount of poly-bag used by the respondent per month.

The pie chart above shows the average amount of poly-bag used by the respondent per month.
The higher percentage is 90% (18 number of respondent) for average amount of poly-bag used
between 0-10. The remaining was 5% (1 number of respondents) for both average amount of
poly-bag used between 11-21 and 21-30. From this information, we can conclude that, the entire
respondent used between 0-10 of poly-bag was come from the average age 20-30. The
respondent that comes from this average age does not have enough time at home for done the
gardening. Maybe some of the respondent was continued their study, working and they tend have
others hobby besides gardening.

4.1.4 Different methods of poly-bag disposal


The Percentage of Different Method of Polybag Disposal Choose by the Respondent

Throw into rubbish bin

Open burning
The Percentage of Different
Method of Poly-bag Disposal
Choose by the Respondent


Dumping into the ground






Chart 4.0: The different methods of poly-bag disposal by the respondent.

From the table above, the method of poly-bag disposal by throwing into the rubbish bin is the
highest with the percentage of 61%. In addition, it also can be concluded that the method of
poly-bag disposal by dumping into the ground was the lowest with 0%. Respondent did choose
this method because they do not have enough ground space around their house to dumping the
poly-bag into the ground; therefore they choose to throw the poly-bag into the rubbish bin with
the hope that the poly-bag can be easily recycled. Besides that, the entire respondent was lived at
resident area. As we can see, there is 26% choose to disposed the poly-bag by open burning. In
our opinion, open burning is not the suitable method to dispose the poly-bag because burning
process will released carbon dioxide and may affect the environment for example greenhouse
effect. The remaining percentage which is 13% choose the recycle method without knowing that
the poly-bag is difficult to recycle because the component of poly-bag is made up of natural gas
and petroleum and it take 1000 years to decompose.


4.1.5 Opinion of respondent about the marketable of biodegradable bag

Opinion of Respondent About the

Marketable of Biodegradable Bag

Not Interested

Chart 5.0: Opinion of respondent about the marketable of biodegradable bag.

From the chart above, we can easily conclude that all the respondent have an interest
about the production of biodegradable bag in order to replace the poly-bag after they are
provided about the advantages of biodegradable bag in the questionnaire which are low cost,
environment friendly, easy to dispose and produce organic manure while dispose. Showing their
interest make the biodegradable can be marketable. Besides that, with the usage of biodegradable
bag, we can save the environment.




This research was conducted in order to introduce the environmental friendly plastic bag to the
public. The idea was come after there are some environmental problem occurred during the
disposal of plastic bag. For example, greenhouse effect due to the open burning of plastic bag
and lack of disposal space of plastic bag where plastic bag that was made up of natural gas and
petroleum will take a 1000 years to dispose completely. There is no fast disposal method
introduce. Therefore we must overcome this problem by replacing the plastic bag with the
biodegradable bag. The objectives of this research are to promote the biodegradable poly-bag to
nurseries and houses and to identify the problem at the nurseries and houses when using the
chemical-based plastic for their plants. In order to get the information, questionnaire was
randomly provided to the 20 respondents at different gender and age.
From the data collected through the questionnaire, we can conclude that every respondent
tend to do a gardening. Some of them used the poly-bag before transfer it into the pot. It is
acceptable because there is no suitable place to implant the plant besides the poly-bag. But the
respondent does not know how to dispose the poly-bag correctly. Many of them make an easy
move by throwing them into the rubbish bin, open burning, and recycle. Many of the respondent
lack of knowledge about the disposal of poly-bag thus make them as the higher percentage to
contribute to the environment problem. Therefore, to overcome this problem, public must be
provided the information about the disadvantages of poly-bag and invention a new product
which is biodegradable bag.
After realizing the facts by using the poly-bag, all the respondents have agree and get
interested with biodegradable bag which provide them a low cost, environmental friendly, easy
to dispose and produce organic manure while dispose compared to poly-bag. Therefore,
biodegradable bag seems to have higher marketable. Furthermore, the environmental problem
such as greenhouse effect due to the open burning can be reduce and soil can get a nutrients from
the disposal of biodegradable bag because during disposal, the biodegrable bag may act as the
organic manure to the soil.


At the end of this research, the objectives were successfully achieved. Some
recommendations were provided to overcome the problem that we are facing when conducting
this research. Limitations while conducting this experiment are the small number of respondent,
data collection method and time. For further research, the number of respondent must large
therefore a lot of information can be obtained. Besides questionnaire, interview also can be
conducted to collect the data from the experience person to get more rational answer. Lastly, if
more time was given, there are a lot of respondent can be made and more relevant data can be
collected smooth out the findings and discussion.





Recommendation based on findings

Based on the findings and conclusions of the study, here are several recommendations to be
1. The lack of knowledge about biodegradable plastic among community can be
overcomes through promotion and campaign. The campaign and the promotion should
cover all the aspects of the knowledge that the people should know and care.
2. The government should support the works and the research about the biodegradable
plastic bag so that many companies can start to work on it and can make it commercial.
3. The teen should be highlighted to know more about this knowledge regarding
biodegradable plastics so that they will support it and continue the research to make it
4. The awareness about the environment, how to secure and to take care of it should have
known by all people, but still many people such as certain respondents chose to burn
the plastics instead of recycle it. The authorities should increase the efforts regarding
5. More publicity about this biodegradable friendly plastic bag should be done in order to
let the people become familiar and the children to grow with it so that it will become
part of their lives as much as the plastics all this time.



Recommendations for future research

1. The researcher can used this biodegradable plastic as alternative to replace plastic bags
used at hypermarket and groceries. Further research can be done to make this
environmental friendly plastic to last longer and strong enough to hold all the
2. The researcher also can used other raw materials come from agricultural waste to be
process and make this biodegradable plastic. They are such as wood dust, coconut
husk, banana fiber and rice ask instead of corn starch. This will make the agricultural
and plastic wastes become lower and the profit can be increase.
3. On future research, the questionnaires need to be distributed to more people so that the
potential of this research to become true are huge. From recent research, almost all 20
respondents agreed that this biodegradable plastic can be market.
4. Future researcher also can make the sample of the biodegradable plastics bag to obtain
people interests in this project. The researcher can give it to the respondents and let
they try to use it at home. Then the researcher can collect the true results about what
they think about it.
5. Lastly, the other researcher that interested to carry on this research can corporate with
the company that makes the plastics bag. The researcher can get benefits from that as
the research can be improved more and the corporation with the company will make
the research come true.






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