Nature has existed for millions of years and has been managing its own ecosystem where animals feed on each other and other organisms. This has created a perfect food chain cycle for its sustenance for centuries. In the past 50 years this perfect food chain cycle is being interfered with the emergence of the petrochemical industry.
The harmonious ecosystem that feeds on itself and corrects itself through natural means is being faced with a deadly and catastrophic product created from the laboratory called “Polyethene”. The mother of plastics.
Developed and developing countries around the world are faced with flooding, diseases, climate change, loss of aquatic life, marine produce, crops and many issues are all attributed to the use and disposal of plastics, Styrofoam’s and other materials that do not have end-of-life into the environment.
Statistics on Plastics
A new report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Plastics Outlook report found that 460 million metric tons of plastics were used in 2019. The amount of plastic waste has also more than doubled during that same time to 353 million metric tons.
Only 9% of plastic waste was ultimately recycled, while 19% was incinerated and almost 50% went to sanitary landfills. The remaining 22% was disposed of in uncontrolled dumpsites, burned in open pits or leaked into the environment.
It’s been estimated that Ghana produces approximately 22,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste annually. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states that of all plastic material in the country after its use 73% effectively ends up as waste, while 19% is re-used and only 2% is recycled.
Solution to Single Use Plastics
After decades of introducing the 3R’s (Re-Use, Replace, and Recycle) as a measure of addressing single-use plastics, the environment is still at risk. Eco-Solve Innovations Africa (EIA) is introducing the 4th R (Return to Earth) using degradable technology from natural raw materials (cassava) to produce an alternative product that has the same characteristics as Polythene bags. These biodegradable bags can biodegrade by turning the cassava-based bags into compost when disposed on landfill sites or when buried in the ground within a period of 4-6 months. Polythene (Plastics) takes about 400 years to degrade, and this is dangerous to the environment and a key cause of pollution to water bodies in Ghana and the whole of Africa.
Polystyrene is the industry name for the plastic foam that most of us call “Styrofoam”, and there are so many reasons why one should not use it. Styrofoam are commonly used and single-use packages for food and other products. Polystyrene products are made with petroleum, and a number of other non-sustainable, toxic and heavily polluting ingredients.
It’s essentially not recyclable, and once it goes to the landfill it virtually never breaks down. Ever!!. It takes about 1,000 years to breakdown into small particles which are more dangerous to the environment and marine life. It also aids in leaching toxins into foods or waterbodies. The use of styrofoams have been ban in many places, all over the world.
Solution to Single-Use Styrofoam
The introduction of bagasse, the dry fibrous residue left of sugarcane, which takes less energy to make and produce fewer carbon emission. Sugarcane fibre is bio-degradable and environmentally friendly, when disposed or gets to the landfill it converts into compost between 4-6 months.
It has all the characteristics with much better health benefits as single-use packages for food and other products.