cup
Paper is neither fat nor water-resistant, so paper that is used in food packaging material needs to be treated with a surface coating. This plastic protects the paper from the coffee in your hand.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that a paper cup that ends up in nature can also cause damage as they also contain toxic chemicals – questioning the idea of replacing single use plastic cups with paper.

Plastics pollution has accelerated a shift to alternative materials. The coffee latte you take with you from the kiosk on the corner now comes in paper cups, sometimes even with paper lids. But that cup can also harm living organisms if it ends up in nature. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg show this in a study testing the effect of disposable cups made of different materials on the larvae of the butterfly mosquito, a statement said.

“We left paper cups and plastic cups in wet sediment and water for a few weeks and followed how the leached chemicals affected the larvae. All of the mugs negatively affected the growth of mosquito larvae,” says Bethanie Carney Almroth, Professor of Environmental Science at the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Gothenburg.

A thin plastic film lines paper cups

Paper is neither fat nor water resistant, so paper that is used in food packaging material needs to be treated with a surface coating. This plastic protects the paper from the coffee in your hand. Nowadays, the plastic film is often made of polylactide, PLA, a type of bioplastic. Bioplastics are produced from renewable resources (PLA is commonly produced from corn, cassava or sugarcane) rather than fossil-fuels as is the case for 99% of plastics on the market today. PLA is often regarded as biodegradable, meaning that it can break down faster than oil-based plastics under the right conditions, but the researchers’ study shows that it can still be toxic.

“Bioplastics does not break down effectively when they end up in the environment, in water. There may be a risk that the plastic remains in nature and resulting microplastics can be ingested by animals and humans, just as other plastics do. Bioplastics contain at least as many chemicals as conventional plastic,” says Bethanie Carney Almroth.

Potential health hazard 

“Some chemicals in plastics are known to be toxic, others we lack knowledge about. Paper packaging also presents a potential health hazard compared to other materials, and it’s becoming more common. We are exposed to the plastics and the associated chemicals via contact with food.”

Bethanie Carney Almroth and her research colleagues report their results in a scientific article in Environmental Pollution. They reason about the major shifts that are required to mitigate the continuing damage to the environment and threat to our health caused by the plastics pollution crisis.

“When disposable products arrived on the market after the Second World War, large campaigns were conducted to teach people to throw the products away, it was unnatural to us! Now we need to shift back and move away from disposable life styles. It is better if you bring your own mug when buying take away coffee. Or by all means, take a few minutes, sit down and drink your coffee from a porcelain mug,” says Bethanie Carney Almroth.

Binding agreements to reduce plastic use

Right now, work is underway through the UN where the world’s countries are negotiating a binding agreement to end the spread of plastics in society and nature. Professor Carney Almroth is a member of a council of scientists, SCEPT — Scientists Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty, which contributes scientific evidence to the negotiations. The council calls for a rapid phasing out of unnecessary and problematic plastics, as well as vigilance to avoid replacing one bad product with another.

“We at SCEPT are calling for transparency requirements within the plastics industry that forces a clear reporting of what chemicals all products contain, much like in the pharmaceutical industry. But the main goal of our work is to minimize plastic production,” says Bethanie Carney Almroth.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

For editorial info@ippgroup.in — for advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our Newsletter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here