Ecoplas the Tapioca Based Plastic vs Corn Based Plastic
Recently, I came across a new biodegradable film that is tapioca based. This is a renewable, sustainable source that does not give off greenhouse gases during production or toxic gases during incineration. This biodegradable, photo degradable and physically degradable film could change the plastics industy forever.
We have all heard of corn based biodegradable plastic, but it that really the way to go? The problem of corn based plastics is that it is very expensive and it competes with our food supply. Why is it so expensive? Because the processing is too long and we only have so much to spare. If we made all of the plastic disposable items used in the world every year from corn based biodegradable film, it would take one hundred million tons of corn to make it. That would lead to mass starvation in the third world, as that represents at least 10% of the world’s grain supply. Also, in landfills, PLA exudes methane when it decomposes-and methane is a potent greenhouse gas. It also takes a huge amount of diesel to grow, fertilize, ship, and process this corn. As a practical matter, it is also not recyclable. The alternative is Tapioca biodegradable plastics. This is why we have begun to produce a whole line of eco friendly retail, take out, and trade show bags out of tapioca. If the price for corn based plastics is more than twice the price of ordinary plastics, then the price for tapioca plastic is only 20% above the ordinary plastics. Right now, the film is produced in Indonesia, where tapioca grows rampid, but will soon be seen in Thailand, China, and maybe in Africa.
Please note that the ordinary plastics will not dissolve into soil in 1000 years; while biodegradable corn based plastics (which pass the standard ISO) will dissolve 60% in 6 months and the Indonesian tapioca based plastic will vanish completely in 12 months.