Bioplastic Technology Should Have Mitigating Effect

Bioplastic Technology Should Have Mitigating EffectBioplastic Technology Should Have Mitigating Effect

Competition among producers should be enhanced to boost production of bio-based polymers (bioplastics) for producing disposable crockery, said Abbas Papeyzadeh, a lawmaker from Dezful, Khuzestan Province, referring to the International Bag Free Day (July 3).

Unfortunately, when technology is introduced in the country, “its adaptation and mitigating effects under the policy framework are not taken into account,” as in the case of disposable plastic crockery where proper usage and disposal methods are not employed, he added, reports the Islamic Consultative Assembly News Agency (ICANA).

He also emphasized the importance of importing state-of-the-art bioplastic technology for use in local production.    

Disposable plastic containers impose serious health and environment risks to the country. Raw material for disposable plastic crockery is cheap in Iran. The low price has kept demand high.

Bioplastics are plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch and pea starch. Bioplastics can be made from agricultural byproducts and also from used plastic bottles and other containers using micro-organisms. Common plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics (also called petro-based polymers), are derived from petroleum or natural gas. Production of such plastics requires more fossil fuels which contribute to more greenhouse gases than the production of bio-based polymers.  Some, but not all, bioplastics are designed to biodegrade. Biodegradable bioplastics can break down in either anaerobic or aerobic environments, depending on how they are manufactured.

Earlier, fruit and vegetable markets used paper bags extensively, but now are using plastic bags due to the high cost of paper.

 Raw Material

In countries where oil is scarce, bioplastic polymers are an alternative and bioplastic disposable crockery is extensively used despite their higher prices.

Papeyzadeh linked the excessive use of plastic crockery in Iran to their low prices and said competition should be fostered among producers to increase production of bioplastic polymers. Moreover, subsidies should be granted to producers of bioplastic disposable crockery and their prices controlled.

He asked the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Health to set up guidelines and regulations for the use of disposable plastic crockery, and support bioplastic production.

Consumption of disposable plastic containers in Iran is very high in comparison with developed countries, and is playing a major role in the development of deadly diseases such as cancer. It’s the Health Ministry’s responsibility to raise public awareness on the “cancerous containers” through the mass media, he said.  Despite legislation and rules with regard to pollutants in the environment, there are still gaps in their implementation. Municipalities and the Ministry of Health should develop culture-building measures and create a platform for encouraging people to stop using plastic bags.