Vietnamese scientists make environmentally safe bags from plastic waste

09:38 | 15/04/2020 Environment

(VEN) - The Institute of Chemistry under the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology has produced an environmentally friendly nylon bag that uses additives to disintegrate the plastic waste.

Degradation process

Dr. Nguyen Trung Duc, the project’s director, explained that while many types of plastic products, especially nylon bags, are said to be biodegradable, they can only undergo biological fracturing which is completely different from biodegradable processes because it does not result in decomposition.

After two years of implementation, the research team has produced three types of biodagradable garbage bags for different purposes. Specifically, green garbage bags that decompose within 12 months can be used to make organic fertilizers after use. Yellow garbage bags disintegrating within 24 months can be recycled. Black bags disintegrading within 36 months can be used to store medical waste.

The team has evaluated the biodegradation process of bags in different environments such as soil burial and actived mud burial. After being buried in soil, the weight of biodegradable bags from plastic waste dropped 66.09-100 percent. When buried in activated sludge, the weight dropped 88.46-100 percent. Bags used to make organic fertilizer dropped 80 percent of weight after 126 days and 85 percent after 180 days.

Dr. Nguyen Trung Duc, who led the research, said the bags do not break down into small pieces like other plastic bags, but convert into water and carbon dioxide (CO2), easily penetrating the soil, bringing nutrients to the plants. If soaked in activated sludge and compost media, the digestion time of the bag is shortened to 7-8 months.

Commercializing the product

The team has collaborated with the Lac Trung Technology and Trading Services Company Limited not only to research and build technological processes and production lines for biodegradable waste bags from waste plastics but also to assess their biodegradable ability according to 9493 TCVN standard. The research results not only have opened up the prospect of utilizing plastic waste polluting the environment for useful products but also have contributed to implementation of the policy of producing environmentally friendly products to replace traditional products.

According to Nguyen Thi Lien Phuong, Deputy Director of the Lac Trung Technology and Trading Services Company Limited, packaging products are manufactured according to this technology under the Green Map brand, containing not only biodegradable features but also modified atmosphere technology - an atmosphere control technique based on the product’s natural respiration and its air permeability. This feature is designed to meet the need of preserving fresh fruits and vegetables longer, extending storage time by 25-30 percent compared to conventional biodegradable bags.

Thu Huong