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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Biodegradable plastic bags made from potatoes: An innovation challenge for Cordillerans

Photo Courtesy || Bosigan Multipurpose Cooperative
Can we actually make plastic bags out of potatoes? Surprisingly, yes! There’s nothing impossible nowadays. Potatoes can be an answer to plastic pollution.

Did you know that a plastic bag from potato  was accidentally discovered by a twenty four year old Swedish designer Pontus Tornqvist? This kind of plastic is biodegradable and can actually decompose in soil in just two months compared to regular plastic which lasts for 450 years or more.

In fact, a plastic bag or wrapper made from potatoes can be edible. Imagine  buying your favorite treats in a plastic wrap or a soda drink  in a plastic container and straw made from potatoes. After consuming the goodies, you then proceed eating the wrappers or containers that came with it. That will be a huge help in solving plastic pollution because you reduce the use of non-biodegradable plastics.

Cutlery made from potato. Photo Courtesy || the Sun

The good thing is, Cordillera has an abundance of potatoes. One can use it for his pinikpikan dish and french fries 'merienda' and now it can be used to create plastic bags.

Now that a plastic bag and cutlery can be made from potatoes, Cordillerans can put those potatoes including those rejected ones into good use. Since the raw materials are locally available, it is an advantage for interested researchers and inventors to learn from Tornqvist's original idea with his existing invention, enhance his techniques  and come up with the same or other unique biodegradable and eco-friendly products.

Coming up with a valuable invention that can help solve people’s problems doesn’t need to have complicated materials, equipment or process. The Swedish Pontus Tornqvist used mainly potato starch, water and glycerol to make a thick mixture by heating then placed into molds then heated further until solid.
Pontus Tornqvist. Photo Courtesy || the Sun

The human inquisitive nature is just perfect for this kind of  innovation. Brilliant  Cordillerans may be able to make biodegradable plastic bags using different raw materials from their backyard, that  have similar texture and components with potatoes.

This is an environmental campaign to share awareness of what we can do to contribute in solving the problems that we now face regarding plastic pollution not only in the Philippines but worldwide.

The Philippines is one of the five countries that produce half of the world’s plastic waste with almost 7,000 tons of plastic wasted everyday which mostly ends up polluting bodies of water according to the 2015 report of Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment.

It is such an alarming situation that 80 percent of pollution in the sea with eight million tons of plastic waste each year comes from the land as reported by the UN. This water pollution not only endangers but kills millions of marine life and destroys the marine ecosystem overtime. Worst, it affects the populace as well.

Different government Agencies and NGO's are looking into ways to reduce the negative impacts of plastic pollution and find a solution for this problem on the long run. The city of Baguio and other major cities in the country move to impose ban on single-use plastics as a support to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Since we all use plastic products and has become an integral part of our daily activities, we should be aware of the catastrophic threats this plastic pollution can do not only to the environment but to our health as well.

Some informed individuals are already taking part in preventing more plastic pollution by reducing the use of plastic through constant practice of garbage segregation and proper waste disposal by reusing, reducing and recycling while adopting alternatives for plastic products by using personalized tumblers, mugs, cloth bags, and other eco-friendly items.

Some  municipalities in Cordillera are already implementing the "no plastic bags" at the market so everyone is encouraged to use biodegradable wraps and bring their own bags and “bayong” when going shopping.

Now it's high time to help protect the environment. Creating  eco-friendly plastic bags from potatoes could greatly help. The solution to plastic pollution is just around our backyard.




Unknown said...

Hi, do you have a price list and any product made from potato?

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