A GISSV 11th grader shares her research findings about bioplastic and environmentally-friendly lunch packaging.
Written by Diana Hage, grade 11
GISSV is making use of the new material called bioplastic, used by our lunch provider "My Green Lunch."
Upon exploring this topic, I did a research paper on the environmental-friendliness of the "My Green Lunch" packaging. While doing this research, I had to realize that the term bioplastic is not an established one. In fact, there are different kinds of bioplastics such as bio-based and biodegradable plastic.
While both names sound eco-friendly, they reveal diverse backgrounds. Moreover, the manufacturing process of the bio-based plastic is the same as for the conventional plastic. This similarity is made possible because of the chemical Mono-ethylene Glycol, which derives from renewable resources. Similarly, this compound derives from fossil-based resources. Furthermore, the bio-based plastic mostly contains the same additives as the conventional plastic i.e. UV stabilizer, flame retardant and plasticizer. Meaning that even though this bio-based plastic can claim itself to be environmentally friendly, it can be very harmful to the environment.
Luckily enough the products of "My Green Lunch" are biodegradable plastics. Their production and composting process leads to a cycle. This cycle is achieved with the process of decomposing by which the final substances are water, carbon dioxide and biomass. This decomposition is made possible with the influence of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi. This cycle is closed with the production of bioplastic because it starts with the process of photosynthesis. This process uses the previously created carbon dioxide and water.
The previously mentioned cycle of the biodegradable plastics and the non-use of fossil-based resources make the biodegradable plastic a better alternative to the above mentioned bio-based plastic. Furthermore, it presents itself as a safer alternative to the conventional plastic.
Nevertheless, the packaging of "My Green Lunch" uses conventional plastic that is marked by the recycling symbol. This recycling symbol, however, does not automatically mean that every plastic in use is recyclable. These kinds of plastics are marked with numbers ranging from one to seven. Therefore representing seven different categories and not every plastic from these categories will be recycled.
With GISSV providing a safe alternative to the conventional plastics, it is not only a step further to an eco-friendly school, but is also setting a good example for its students who are the future decision makers.