BIODEGRADABLE POLYBAG (SONALI BAG)





Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan has developed a new generation of biodegradable and sustainable biopolymer from jute now is being use single use packaging material. Biopolymer from jute not only environment friendly but also manufacturing process environment friendly and close-loop system. Bangladesh honorable prime-minister Sheikh Hasina has provided this packaging material name which is “Sonali Bag”. Pilot scale production of sonali bag is going at Latif Bawany Jute Mills Ltd, Bangladesh Jute Mill’s Corporation under the Ministry of Textiles and Jute. Sonali Bag is highly demandable in domestic and international. The Sonali Bag is a cellulose-based biodegradable biopolymer alternative to plastic bags, particularly polythene bags. The cellulose used in Sonali Bags is extracted from jute, a major vegetable fiber crop grown across the globe.

Polyolefins like polyethylene, polypropylene are hydrocarbon hydrophobic polymers, resistant to peroxidation, biodegradation, highly resistant to hydrolysis, which is their main attribute in packaging, and not biodegradable. Nowadays their use has to be restricted and banned because they are not biodegradable, compostable and eco-friendly so they pose serious ecological problems, toxic substance, contaminated foods and biological substance and serious health hazard and diseases. The main aim of biodegradable, compostable, and eco-friendly packaging material is to imitate the life cycle of biomass, which includes conservation of fossil resources, water, and CO2 production.

The Sonali bag (biopolymer) is made of natural ingredients like jute based cellulose, binder (a natural polymer), and vegetable color. Jute cellulose polymer is made by solution casting. Beforehand water-soluble cellulose was prepared. This is a biopolymer without any plastic. So, the preparation method and instrument of the biopolymer is different than that of traditional plastic. Jute is grown in Bangladesh, India, and others countries. It contains cellulose (65-70%), lignin (12-14%) and hemicellulose (18-22%). Both these compounds are value added products. It is reported that one hectare of jute plants absorbs 15 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and add 11 tons of O2 during its life span. Include that wood plant takes around 10 years to be ready for cellulose collection whereas the jute plant only takes 100-110 days. Jute cultivation will be increased if Sonali Bag is commercialized. So the economic growth of Bangladesh will be enhanced as well as sustainable environment goal will be accomplished.

Feature at Glance of Sonali Bag : Tensile strength of Sonali bag is 1.6 higher than of PP/PE bags and the elongation at break was found 35.52%. The mechanical and thermal properties so good than traditional poly bags. This biodegradable bag will be decomposed within 3-4 months in soil and start to dissolve in water after 5 hours formed into biological foods and in incinerate process doesn’t produce toxic gases and also no smoke or fume. The roots of plants can easily penetrate into the bag's during landfill, and there is no harmful effect on seed germination.

Ban in domestic and international : In 2002 Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban thinner plastic bags. In 2010, the Government of Bangladesh took initiative to decrease the use of plastics through enacting ‘Mandatory Jute Packaging Act, 2010’. On 27-March-2019, European Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks. Canada, Germany, Costa Rica, Honolulu, Mexico City has declared to ban single use plastic bag from 2021. Several other countries and cities have implemented various plastics bans, some that include only plastic bags or plastic straws to others that include all single-use plastics.

Sonali Bag contribution in SDG’s goal : The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25/09/15, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. In 17 SDGs goal ‘Sonali Bag’ can contribute in 7goal which so important for all over the world. This 7 SDGs goal has highlighted :

SDG 3: Good health and well-being.
SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation.
SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities.
SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production.
SDG 13: Climate action.
SDG 14: Life below water (protection of the seas and oceans).
SDG 15: Life on land (restore ecosystems and preserve diversity).

Good health and well-being : The Sonali bag degrades under the soil, at different times. Depends on crosslinking density and soil condition. These products are eaten by microbial. The degraded products turn as fertilizer. This product is compostable, could be littering with the house or kitchen garbage. This is time dependable water-soluble, after soluble it does not produce any harmful products. It also soluble in marine /seawater it could be food. item of marine fishes. Sonali bag produces ash after burring without producing and harmful gas. This non-toxic and biodegradable material can be chemically modified to maintain its structure for days at a time while still dissolving in water when ready for disposal. which has antimicrobial properties, for added protection against pathogens

Clean Water and Sanitation : The innovation of Sonali bag has aimed to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes. The new biopolymer will be disintegrated in water and thus will overcome the clogging problems associated with the plastic bags. It will facilitate the urban water drainage system to a great extent with huge social and economic impact. Besides, plastic bags that end up to land filling, eventually hamper soil’s water holding property, ground water refilling etc. and ultimately disintegrate sustainability of water-related ecosystems. Another crucial of problem is micro-plastic and the toxic chemicals released by plastic materials when end up in the aquatic body. This problem is one of key barrier of the SDG’s goal. As this micro-plastic can take up to thousand years to disintegrate, but the proposed alternative to the plastic bags can be the solution of these problems. Plastic pollutant in the aquatic body is originated from plastic packaging. So, ‘Sonali Bag’ will aid to achieve the SDG’s “Clean Water and Sanitation” goal to a great extent.

Responsible Consumption and Production : The main objectives of this SDG are 1. Achieving the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources, 2. Substantially reducing waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse 3. Supporting developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production. ‘’Sonali Bag’ has direct relation with these objectives. The proposed biodegradable packaging material/Sonali Bag is prepared from renewable natural resources unlike the plastic materials which are prepared from non-renewable fossil fuel. Thus, sustainable bag will help to achieve sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources and eventually replace the plastic packaging which will ultimately lead to reduced waste production.

Life Below Water : This is one of the most prioritized SDGs as it deals with the rivers and seas which are the sources of life on earth. The SDG stated, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025. The land-based activity which contributes the most for marine pollution is the plastic wastes. Most plastic wastes take 100-1000+ years for complete degradation. In the marine ecosystem, plastic wastes convert into non-biodegradable micro-plastics which is responsible to life threating complications to marine and aquatic life. ‘Sonali Bag’ can be an alternative to plastic packaging but unlike plastics, it does not produce any toxic chemical compounds when dissolves in water. So, it is not harmful for aquatic and marine life, rather it is a nutrient source for marine and aquatic life because it is produced from water soluble jute cellulose derivatives.

Climate Action : According to SDG goal of climate action (13) greenhouse gas must urgently peak and reduce down to zero by 2050. “Sonali Bag” is made from jute crops cellulose which is 100% biodegradable, compostable and eco- friendly. A report on jute research confirmed “jute plants absorb 15 tons of carbon dioxide and release 12 tons of oxygen”. On the other hand, plastic is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which release toxic emission e.g., toluene, xylene, benzene, carbon monoxide, chlorofluorocarbons hydrogen sulfide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, particular matter and volatile organic compounds when extracted from earth or burning or incineration.

Land Life : Sonali Bag can be confirmed the goal of SDG land life (15) because Sonali Bag is 100 biodegradables, compostable, recyclable reusable. It can be maintained the integrate ecosystem and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes, poverty reduction strategies and accounts.

Sustainable Cities and Communities : According to 11. B. this SDG goal is about the adaptation and implementation of integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disaster by sustainably increased cities and human settlements. This innovation is certainly a sustainable movement in oppose to a unhygienic and disastrous global hazard. Natural resource is the raw ingredient of this product which will substitute the indecomposable petroleum-based polymers as well as promote environmental friendly crop cultivation by soaking CO2 and generating O2. Passively it could balance carbon emission in the atmosphere, alleviate greenhouse effect as well as vastly upbringing of this technology will play a vital role in preventing global disasters like global warming, melting ice at Arctic and Antarctic region, increasing sea level etc.

The ‘Sonali Bag’ can be a game-changer not only for Bangladesh but also for the rest of the world. The key constituent of the packaging material/Sonali Bag is jute cellulose which provides additional benefits by preventing carbon dioxide emission.

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