India is the fifth largest producer of meat and biodegradable packaging is the need of the hour to reduce plastic waste

A study by the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicates that humans might be consuming an average of 39,000 to 52,000 microplastics every year. A global material balance study on plastics points out that 79 % of the total plastics produced in the world enters our environment as waste. Only 9 % of the total plastic waste in the world is recycled.

With the global pandemic currently going on, people have taken the time to slow down and think about the usage of plastics, the environment and how to sustain it in a manner that will help the society for better. People now are turning to Biodegradable packaging that is sustainable like plant based materials starch, cellulose, plant oil etc

According to an article from http://www.agriculturejournal.org/ on the need of packaging different products, biodegradable packaging is produced in various forms viz., gels, film, bag and box. Gel as hydrogel applied as a coating on fruits and vegetables, helps prevent microbial contamination.
Biodegradable films are made from renewable biomaterial like corn dextrose. Biodegradable films are resistant to moisture and are easy to compost. They act as oxygen barriers for food packaging; used to wrap perishables and to seal containers.  Biodegradable bags are also made from biomaterials. They are strong and resistant to breakage and considered safe for packaging food materials. Bio-oriented polystyrene from corn is used for producing biodegradable boxes with a lid.

Polylactic Acid is another biodegradable thermoplastic that is based on Lactic acid, which is produced from 100% natural and renewable resources like sugarcane. PLA degrades because its origins are natural and microorganisms can feed on it. For example, to package meat, Biodegradable and compostable packaging is preferred.

A company from Germany called Bio4Pack does the same. Its website mentions that the development of compostable packaging for fresh meat has not been an easy process. Bio4Pack was determined to develop a packaging that fully complies with the strict requirements of the EN13432 certification standard pertaining to compostability. Eventually, it managed to develop a packaging for fresh meat that meets all requirements pertaining to compostability and food safety.

Coming to India, Meat production is estimated to be around 6.3 million tonnes, which makes it the fifth largest producer of meat in the world. By 2022, the Indian meat market is estimated to touch US$ 65 billion as compared to US$ 31 billion in 2018 which indicates a CAGR of 20%. According to the Central
Pollution Study board, India produces 26,000 tonnes of plastic every day. Consumers are hence demanding packaging that can be recycled and is sustainable as it is the need of the hour.

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