Seetal Solanki from Ma-tt-er recently wrote about sugar as a material source and this week she will be discussing the potential of a biodegradable food packaging solution that is made from sugarcane fibre waste called bagasse, which is a substance normally burnt to dispose of it creating a huge amount of pollution.
Bagasse is a renewable source which doesn’t require any additional cultivation as it comes from the byproduct of the sugarcane industry. Once processed, the material behaves and functions like a traditional paper, plastic and styrofoam material, which is now being transformed into a food-based packaging alternative that biodegrades within 90 days in comparison to a plastic which can take up to 400 years.
- The process starts by storing the wet sugarcane fibres which involves removing the short fibres to speed up the next stages of production.
- The bagasse is then blended with water into a pulp, almost like a paper making process.
- Biodegradable bleachers are added to create consistency with the colour and texture of the material.
- The pulp is then poured into a mold and pressed into the desired form and then fixed with the addition of high temperatures and pressure.
- Then they are ready to be distributed into the big wide world.
The options of packaging can range from plates, bowls and take away containers, compartment trays, clamshell burger style containers mainly across the foodservice industry. Not only does the bagasse product biodegrade it has the ability to be frozen, microwaved, put into the oven and then recycled or put into the compost superseding its paper and plastic predecessors.
What more could you want?