Home » WORLD WIDE WASTE: Can Indian seaweed replace plastic?

WORLD WIDE WASTE: Can Indian seaweed replace plastic?

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 3 minutes read

By – Sarojini Rout
We human constantly strive for a secure and healthy planet, but we never consider how to make the planet more livable in the long run. We don’t spend a much money on research into how improve the world. These efforts by the team Zero Circle did a splendid job. Increased seaweed farming may affect the ecosystem on coming years. As when plastic was invented nobody has an idea that it will curse  for mother nature. As nature has a rule no matter how much we try but we create some waste or harm mother nature, We can only try to contribute less waste that’s what all in our hands. But the method seems eco friendly. Nowadays, we are really critical about sustainability. However, the seaweed economy in India never really scaled up although it has been cultivated here for years. Zerocircle is one of the small but growing number of companies hoping to promote the use of seaweed in India and, through that, solve some of the bigger questions around sustainability.Many years ago I read an article about making “plastic “ From corn starch. The idea never materialised but that this moves forward in a big way. it doesn’t got materialised because corn doesn’t grow fast and it’s a seasonal corp so it can’t meet the market demand . on the other hand  we can grow seaweed on a much larger scale on the empty ocean. 
Edible packaging would be a wonderful innovation. But we talk about seaweed 
Well despite this being great innovation . It will be interesting to see the economics at industrial scale. There is obviously a lot of hand touch in the current process as it’s still at the laboratory stage. Also, it appears to be energy intensive. It would be nice to see a comparison to petroleum based plastics at industrial scale. Part of that analysis should include ‘post use’ economics.
Similarly there are some bacteria which synthesize some granules (PHA granules) as a carbon and energy storage compound which helps these bacteria to survive in the absence of certain carbon source. These granules are now being used to make bioplastic films which can be used for packaging. These can also be used for medical purposes because it is biocompatible. This bioplastic is called polyhydroxyalkanoates. It is biodegradable but the cost of making it is very high.
The fact that this can be made with the same infrastructure that manufacturers use now is an actual game-changer. I haven’t had hope for replacing plastics until now!
Since Zerocircle is based in Pune, they could utilise the seaweed which is growing naturally on the surface of the river below Bund Garden bridge, there’s a huge huge mass of it. It will help clean the water and serve as a raw material for research. Seaweed actually grows really quick, so we can just use it safely and sustainably. This is what we called a great achievement . 

****The writer is a Research Scholar and completed  M.Sc, Environmental science (gold medalist) , B.Sc from Manipur university, B. Ed.(from Delhi)

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