Bio-Plastics In Renewable Countries

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ABSTRACT Renewable Materials have become an ever increasing part of our lives. We have become more concerned with protecting the long term health of our environment even as we try to maintain our current living standards. Sugar is produced in large quantities and it is currently being looked at as a substitute feedstock for the production of plastics. This type of plastic often called bioplastic will hopefully replace regular petro plastic as the new environmentally friendly and cost effective substitute. Nations such as Brazil have already embraced this new paradigm shift and reaped the rewards. While other countries such as Jamaica, with a similar climate, and similar means of harvesting sugar may also stand to benefit greatly.…show more content…
Like all plastics, bio-plastics are made from the combination of polymers. A polymer is substance that is comprised of small molecular subunits called monomers. The process of linking these monomer subunits together end to end that creates a polymer. This either involves the process of dehydration, which is the removal of water from the sugar or through polymerization to cause the molecules to link together in chains. From there on molecularly linking polymers together will make a plastic. The sugar in the cane by-products, sugar and molasses, could be used as the monomer in the process to synthesize bio-plastics. The sugar by-products, sugar and molasses, extracted from cane is usually sucrose and from this more than one type of bioplastic could be synthesized. The sugar could be chemically altered into another type before being linked together into a polymer. Or the very order in which the sugar links together could be rearranged. So instead of linking them end to end they could even be linked in varying directions. It is the changing of the combinations in how you link the monomers that would lead to different bio-plastics with differing properties and compositions (Baker C. W. 1990). The plastic can be moulded into different shapes for different purposes and uses whereas the properties could be varied depending on…show more content…
It would be a case where almost all the materials and the production would be local. Jamaica produced between one million three hundred thousand (1.3M) and two million (2M) tons of cane annually between 2005 and 2010 (Sugar Industry Authority 2010). The numbers have changed little since then. The nation already earns significant foreign exchange earnings simply from the production of sugar. Bio plastics continue to be relatively cheap to produce even in comparison to regular plastics, costing less than half as much per unit as compared to petroplastics (Murillo V. FIlho, et a 2011, Chemistry based on renewable materials, H.P. Hindawi Enzyme, section 2.1 ). The nation would stand to benefit significantly from diversifying its sugar sector. More of the crops could be produced to fill the gap left by the falling demand for Jamaican sugar. In addition the production of the plastics the nation needs locally would reduce the nation’s reliance on the importation of some of its raw

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