Agri & Industrial Packaging promotes oxo-biogradable plastic as environmentally efficient

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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FOLLOWING the recent decision by the Jamaican Government to impose a ban on certain categories of plastic packaging materials such as plastic bags, plastic drinking straws and styrofoam, the challenge has now arisen on how to replace them.

Agri & Industrial Packaging Ltd, a leader in Jamaica's industrial packaging industry for over 31 years, is offering a solution, according to a recent news release.

Their answer is oxo-biodegradable plastic (OXO), as it functions in a very unique and environmentally efficient way. OXO plastic will degrade and become biodegradable as soon as it is exposed to the environment as litter. It is a much faster process of degradation than that of ordinary plastic.

It is the various polymers in OXO plastic that make this solution possible. They contain extra ingredients, called prodegradant catalysts which enable them to degrade and biodegrade in the open environment.

“All plastics degrade — the real issues are when and how,” said Hugh Gray, CEO of Agri & Industrial Packaging. “With this solution, the shelf life can be set at manufacture and the material degrades in the open environment.”

He points out that using conventional plastics with added prodegradant catalysts means that production of the feedstock uses no fertilisers, additional fuel, nor water compared to conventional plastics.

In the case of paper bags and containers made with bio-based compostable plastics such as cornstarch, the fuel and water requirements for production are enormous, and frequently result in greater pollution. Also, cornstarch only degrades rapidly in a high-temperature and microbially rich compost conditions, and relies on the conversion of an existing food source (corn, maize and other grains) — therefore increasing the price of those ingredients and ultimately hurting consumers.

OXO plastic packaging also has the added advantage of being the same strength and weight as conventional plastic, and can be recycled as part of a normal plastic waste stream.

Paper bags weigh six times more than plastic and require up to 10 times more storage space. They, therefore, require more vehicles for transportation.

Gray believes that the widespread use of oxo-biodegradable plastics is more than just a solution to the ban which will be imposed by the Jamaican Government. OXO plastic can revolutionise the operation of businesses as well as daily life in Jamaica, and help position the country as a regional leader in green industry and environmental preservation.

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