In our day-to-day life, plastic is like a friendly neighbor that tries to be helpful but also annoying at the same time. Plastic makes our life easier but on other hand, they cause so many problems bigger than plastic can help us. One of the biggest issues with plastic use is that plastic is not environmentally friendly, it even tends to corrupt the environment. Plastics made from PET (polyethylenterephthalate) require hundreds of years to make it disintegrate. Therefore, nowadays there is a new technology that can make packaging from organic materials which we call Bioplastic.
Bioplastics are plastics that we can make from renewable materials and this plastic is different from conventional plastics made from petroleum-based materials. Bioplastics can be made from starch sources that we can get from plants such as cassava, corn, and sugar beets, as well as from seaweed.
Dr. Agus Haryono – Deputy for Engineering Sciences at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) stated that bioplastics are produced from renewable materials. Biodegradable plastics can be produced from renewable and non-renewable materials. Indonesia has great potential in the production of bioplastics and biodegradable plastics, for that we need a standard for biodegradable plastics.
In his presentation, Dr. Asmuwahyu Saptorahardjo – Technical Advisor of PT. Intera Lestari Polymer and Bioplastic Producer Enviplast said that until 2019 the market for bioplastics for packaging according to the EU was still less than 1% of plastic packaging and was still dominated by starch blends, followed by PLA with Lactide ring-opening technology using food-associated raw materials. Although data from the i Nova Institute and the European Bioplastics Association indicate that bioplastic production does not compete with food production this subject is still an emotional debate globally. However, bioplastic producers have also begun to market bioplastics from agro-industrial waste.
Chairman of the Indonesian Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs Association (GAPMMI) – Ir. Adhi Lukman explained GAPMMI Position on Regulatory and Bioplastic, namely plastic waste management must be ESR (Extended Stake Holder Responsibilities), not only EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility); Relaxation/review of KLHKP.75/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/10/2019 which limits the size of packaging that is allowed to use plastic, prohibits the use of certain types of plastic, prohibits the use of single-use plastics considering that there is no absolute solution to replace plastic (Covid-19 Mitigation indicates that plastic is still needed); Review regulations and provide local solutions for packaging handling routes, in accordance with the mandate of Law No. 18/2008 article 20 (3) and not only focusing on 3R (Reduce, Recycle, Re-Use) facilities, there are still routes that have not been accommodated, namely Residue and Return to earth (there are still many unmanaged and scattered plastics) and the need for “local solutions” solutions need to support the results of studies, research and measurements that are “legitimate” and contribute solutions. The use of BioPlastic needs further feasibility studies and the Government needs to determine policies based on science and scientific evidence and become the Indonesia National Policy of Plastic.
Prof. Dr. Hari Eko Irianto – Permanent Professor at Sahid University Jakarta – Acting Head of the Center for Research on Product Processing and Biotechnology for Marine and Fisheries (BBRP2BKP) emphasized that seaweed has promising potential to be used as raw material for bioplastics. Raw materials from seaweed can be in the form of jell, carrageenan, and alginate.
Research on the use of seaweed for the development of edible films and bioplastics has been done a lot. Seaweed-based bioplastics have a wider potential for use.
It is hoped that currently there is research capable of making molecular chains from plant materials that have the same molecular chains from petroleum so that they can reduce or even replace the use of petroleum as the basic material for making plastics by using natural materials so that they are more environmentally friendly. The advantages of using this bioplastic include that under certain conditions it can decompose within eight to twelve weeks.