While there probably isn’t going to be an alternative to single-use packaging anytime soon, the type of materials used to manufacture these items can make all the difference.
It’s also true that more people are aware of eco-friendly packaging alternatives these days and are trying to incorporate better choices into their own lives and lifestyles. Because of this, it’s up to businesses to seek better options to cater to consumer needs and expectations.
The main concern is the use of Styrofoam, plastics and polystyrene, which systematically impact the environment long-term and so investing in biodegradable and compostable alternatives, with less impact on the earth, is the right approach to take.
This is where Bagasse comes into play. Bagasse is vastly becoming a trendsetter already, as it’s a renewable resource material and the perfect alternative for disposable cups, plates, and bowls and takeaway containers since it’s much safer for the environment.
Here we are going to explain a little more about this material, how it is produced as well as highlight the advantages of using it as opposed to traditional food packaging materials.
What is Bagasse?
Bagasse comes from sugarcane, once stalks are harvested, they are pressed to extract their juices, and these juices are then processed and turned into sugar. During this process, a dry fibrous substance is left behind. A heat source and pressure are then used to mould this substance into a wide range of food packaging items such as Bagasse takeaway boxes, tableware, plates and bowls.
Bagasse food packaging products are great because not only are they aesthetically pleasing, they do not leave any residue, strong smells or taste behind, unlike many other materials. This means that food and drink consumed from Bagasse packaging have no lasting aroma that could impact the taste of its contents.
Being fully compostable and biodegradable, Bagasse food packaging has barely any impact on the earth, and it’s regarded as an all-round environmentally friendly product. Its manufacturing process is also more sustainable since it requires very little energy to produce.
Here are some interesting facts about this sustainable food packaging material:
Sugarcane is found in tropical climates since this is where it thrives, it belongs to a family of sweet grasses, and the plant can grow up to around 5 meters tall, and the stems can have a diameter of 4.5cm. Sugarcanes are a highly popular resource used worldwide, for the production and manufacturing process of retail sugar. The harvesting of around 100 tons of sugarcane can generate approximately 10 tons of sugar plus 34 tons of Bagasse. The Bagasse would normally be considered as the waste material and burned, but the creation of Bagasse packaging increases its value, as it gets generated into eco-friendly packaging products instead.
Sugarcane is a renewable resource which has very little impact on the environment since it requires no trees to be cut down, thus Bagasse (the bi-product of sugarcane) is also sustainable because nothing extra is needed to create the food packaging products using this material. When you consider the manufacturing process with regards to paper and wood, it has a remarkable difference, since no trees and cultivation areas are required for the manufacturing process, it also requires significantly less energy for production too.
Since Bagasse is a plant-based product, it’s fully compostable and under the right composting conditions can break down and decompose in around a week. It requires nothing more, and the soil can be safely used as breeding ground or fertilizer from then onwards.
How effective are Bagasse materials for food packaging?
Bagasse is ideally useful for food and drink plus takeaway containers and packing. Its natural properties make this material highly effective as follows:
- No added chemicals are required to make the product water and grease resistant.
- Microwave and freezer safe.
- Good thermal properties. Suitable for temperatures from -25°C to 220°C, being microwave and freezer safe.
- Durable and strong. The fibrous material offers more strength and durability than polystyrene and paper products.
- Insulation properties. It ensures contents are kept warmer for longer than traditional variations.
- It will not degrade early. Only when exposed to the right kind of composting conditions.
Why Bagasse is a better alternative to plastics
First of all, Plastics are produced from petroleum, this resource is widely known for its impact on the environment, it’s non-renewable and requires a lot of energy during manufacturing, but the more concerning factor is its known ability to not degrade naturally over time, this has led to an accumulation of plastic waste clogging up our landfills and oceans. Plastic must be disposed of or recycled accordingly to avoid such events, but instead, according to Greenpeace, around 12.7 million tons of it lands in the oceans, every single year, having devastating effects on marine life.
Bagasse is quite the opposite, it’s a natural product and 100% compostable, and without any intervention, this material will easily break down into soil and return to earth, leaving no lasting effects.
Bagasse packaging and tableware is the future of sustainability. By opting to use these products, you are actively helping to reduce the devastating effects that plastics have on our environment due to their lack of biodegradable properties.