Pioneering Bioplastic Companies in India Bring About a Positive Change

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Author: Aditya Gupta

Bioplastic-in-India
https://commons.wikimedia.org

Enough has been said about the usage of plastic polymers that has become a major environmental crisis. Petroleum-based plastics are the third highest used product extracted from petroleum. India has become one of the biggest centers of plastic usage with over 15,000 tons of plastic waste generated every year, of which only 60% is re-processed. Countries all over the globe have begun to take steps on curbing its usage. Bangladesh has prohibited plastic bags countrywide, Ireland has imposed a tax on plastic bags, while the UK and other European countries are contemplating about taxing them as well.

Comparative Advantage of Bioplastics

There are a few alternatives to plastics that are gaining attention at a global level. Bioplastic is one such eco-friendly alternative to plastics, which could be an excellent replacement since their manufacturing results in fewer emissions of greenhouse gasses. Unlike plastics, bio-plastics are made from organic biomass sources such as corn starch and sugarcane. The following table shows a comparative study of bioplastics against conventional plastics along with profiles of a few bioplastic companies in India:

CharacteristicsPetroleum-based plasticsBioplastics
Energy consumption in productionHigh48% lower than petroleum based plastic production
Raw MaterialsPetroleum, a non-renewable resourceBiomass obtained from starch of corn, sugarcane, potato and other renewable crops
Carbon FootprintHigh as petroleum is involved62% less emission of CO2 which is significantly less than traditional plastics
Presence of chemicalsPresence of Bisphenol A (BPA) which is a potential hormone disrupting chemicalNo presence of any toxic chemical
Physical propertiesHighly stable and thermo-plasticEqually stable with high thermo-plasticity as traditional plastics
BiodegradabilityCould take more than 500 years to decompose completely; needs to be recycledDecomposes inside 180 days if decomposed in the right environment; releases methane on decomposition which can be harnessed to produce energy
Effect on holding contentsFails to retain the flavor and scent of the food stored in them; potentially releases harmful substances in the food on long exposuresRetains the original flavor and scent of the food being carried in them
PriceLow20%-100% higher than traditional plastics

Popular Variants of Bioplastics

Unknowing to us, Bioplastics have been around for decades now with a notable historical usage in the Model T automotive parts that were designed by Henry Ford from corn starch and soybean oil ingredients. However, it needs to be noted that not all bioplastics are completely biodegradable. Some biological-based products can biodegrade in municipal composting facilities, or aquatic and landfill environments, others can only biodegrade in very specific environments, while some will not biodegrade at all. There are two variants that have become more popular and have gained maximum attraction:

  1. Polylactic acid (PLA) – transparent solid polymer that is similar to PETE polymer, but has a significantly lower maximum continuous use temperature.
  2. Poly hydroxyl alkanoate (PHA) is a much more eco-friendly polymer that can handle high temperatures and decomposes in soil and waterways as well Both these variants are primarily manufactured from fermented corn sugar and they can decompose up to 90% within 90 days if disposed properly. In fact, bioplastics can anaerobically degrade and release methane in the presence of moisture, which can be captured to be used for energy production.

Production

Envigreen-eco-plastic-bags

Production of bioplastics starts with the collection of starch material plants, which produce them by absorbing CO2 during photosynthesis. This plant starch is fermented by using lactobacillus bacteria and is converted into a long-chain carbon polymer (PLA). These PLA granules are then molded into small plastic pellets which are melted to make different kinds of objects and packaging material. On the other hand, Polyhydroxy-alkanoate is a polyester produced by fermenting raw vegetable materials such as carbohydrates, vegetable oil or even glycerine. bacterial strains. It is specially extracted from bacteria such as pseudomonas.

Starch granules are the latest innovation in the packaging industry which are actually made out of Potato and Tapioca starch granules along with other biomass. The end product is white and looks like plastic, but is actually a 100% biodegradable product. These bags decompose within 180 days but if kept in normal water they dissolve within 24 hours and in 15 seconds if kept in boiling water. Therefore, people can throw away these plastic bags without worrying about any consequences as they are fully edible and compostable. The bags are sturdy enough to hold good weight but they cannot hold liquids. They are pretty economical and are available in the market at ~INR3 per bag.

Leading Bioplastic Companies in India

The market for bioplastics in India is no longer nascent with many industry players taking pioneering steps. Our country has the raw material biomass required for bioplastics in abundance. Combining this with the rising awareness among consumers, India could become the potential fulcrum for global behavior change in turning away from plastics. Quite a few manufacturing firms like Envigreen, Ecolife, Plastobags, Earthsoul India and Truegreen have come up with different forms of bioplastics, which are already supplying these environment-friendly forms of plastics in regional markets.

Truegreen is a firm based out of Ahmedabad that started a manufacturing plant with a capacity of producing 5,000 tons of bioplastics every year. The company offers a large variety of packaging solutions with bioplastics in the form of cutlery, garbage bags, food gloves, shrink films and other packaging and laminating materials made out of bioplastics, which are fully biodegradable in 180 days. Truegreen is one of the first large-scale producers of bioplastics in India and continues to grow promisingly through its sustained production.

Plastobags is an established company that primarily started in the business of conventional plastics but recently has diversified its product portfolio and expanded into bioplastics with a whole range of products from carry bags, hygiene gloves to disposable waste bags and security bags. On the other hand, Earthsoul India is the licensed manufacturer for Novamont, which is a global bioplastics producer. Although Earthsoul India has products that are more suitable for garden needs, they also have bioplastics for food packaging and waste disposal purposes.

Ecolife is a firm based out of Chennai that produces bioplastics for industrial packaging. Their products also include bioplastics for industrial packaging with different varieties like perforation films and lamination films. The bioplastics produced by Ecolife do not contain polyethylene or polypropylene and they sell both single-use and reusable plastic bags made out of bioplastics that can both be ultimately used as biowaste bag.

These bags are being produced currently by a Bengaluru-based firm Envigreen, which is the latest startup to enter the Indian bioplastics market. This company was established by a Qatar-based NRI, Ashwath Hegde in 2016, when Envigreen opened its operations in Bengaluru and its production facility is already capable of producing 1,000 tons of bioplastics every year. The carry bags manufactured by Envigreen are made out of 12-14 biological ingredients like potato, tapioca, organic oil extracted from banana, flowers and other vegetables along with natural starch.

The company’s manufacturing cost is a little high because of the expensive raw materials and thus the bags are priced 35% higher than a normal plastic bag. A medium-sized carry bag would cost INR3, whereas the same plastic bag would cost INR2. The bag if discarded decomposes within 180 days and interestingly, the company claims it takes only 15 sec to dissolve an Envigreen bag in boiling water!

Not so Positive Update about Bioplastics

We assumed the growth of bioplastics in India would bring a positive change in consumer behavior and with continued support from the government for the much-needed change toward a greener environment. However, we at Ecoideaz have realized that Bioplastics have proven not so eco-friendly since they are not biodegradable as claimed. Most Bioplastics are certified as ‘commercial compostable’ which means they need to be composted in an industrial facility. This means bioplastics are not compostable at home nor will biodegrade naturally in landfills or anywhere in open nature.

http://www.business-standard.com
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polylactic_acid
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhydroxyalkanoates

Ecoideaz is hell bent on proving that sensible green ideas do emerge from India. It is eager to build a comprehensive portfolio of all eco-friendly ideas developed in India and create a repository for innovative green ideas both from the investor and consumer perspective.

99 COMMENTS

  1. The whole article is well researched, I must say. But I also want to add on that this concept of bioplastics can be used in a much broader sense too. For example, a very good application that I came up with would be making toys out of bioplastics, so that even if small children ingest it, it is either harmless or very very less harmful than conventional plastics. It is expensive, true, but what value is money when the future of our planet is at stake?

    • Hi…this looks like a great idea. If you are open to discuss in detail, reach out to us. We are also looking to tie up with someone who is into manufacturing of bioplastic toys. Write to me via email

  2. We are leading starch manufacturer in gujrat india
    We are planning to set up biodegradable plastic polymer manufacturing line
    We need techo-commercial project report for same and need consultancy agency require

      • Hi Levine,

        I would greatly appreciate if you could please share the cost of the techno commercial report at shagotra@gmail.com.

        Also, whats the credibility of the consultants preparing the report? Meaning what is the guarantee that the consultant sharing the report is actually qualified and has hands on expertise in this matter?

        Regards,

        Atul

      • I am planning to manufacture biodegradable bags in my unit . So need a little guidance on it if anyone can help me.

        • Yes Mayank, we provide consultancy on how to set up this business. Will mail you in detail soon

    • Hi ramesh,
      We are a market research company. We can help you with required primary research. Pls send your requirement to us

      • Hi Ritu,
        have you done any research on Bioplastics in India? if yes, please send it to us. please avoid marketing your services and directly posting your contact details here

  3. Bioplastics as a technology is not as good and eco-friendly as claimed to be. A little more research would have shown that there is no standard globally which checks for the break-down of bioplastics leading to micro plastics. The standards themselves state “no visible residue” after composting. Moreover, most of these are only industrial compostable products. Please help me understand the practical reverse logistics of a bioplastics product (which looks and feels like plastic) to a composting facility instead of a plastic recycling facility in India. Finally, did you know that California has banned these bags because when they mix with plastic recycling, they render that batch of recycled plastics absolutely useless as well due to a mix!
    Just a little more research and end-of-life thinking of products and options would have helped. Solutions without a practical reverse logistics in a country where waste segregation itself is in super-early stages does not help.

    • Hi Richa,
      thank you very much for your valuable insights on Bioplastics. we are not researchers on Bioplastics, we study the market in India and write about the current trends. Bioplastics are already in the market so we need to talk about it. we are neither for or against these products. you need to address your concerns to any govt authority who has to study the end-of-life solutions for these products.

      • We want set up this business, please provide us necessary information regarding this.l will hard work.

  4. We are planning to set up biodegradable plastic polymer manufacturing line. Presently we are in manufacturing of recycle polyester staple fiber and PET Chips.
    We need techo-commercial project report for same and need consultancy also.

  5. We are planning to set up biodegradable plastic polymer manufacturing line
    We need techo-commercial project report for same kindly provide the details

  6. Hi we are start up in healthy snacks and would like to use Bioplastic container , specially for Laddu( sweet ball) packing, looking for suppliers for same, plz help any one knows any organisation .

  7. We are planning to set up biodegradable plastic polymer manufacturing line
    We need techo-commercial project report for same kindly provide the details

    • Hi Vivek,
      Thank you very much for your interest. we can surely provide you a report if you are ready to pay for it

  8. We are planning to set up biodegradable plastic polymer manufacturing line

    We need techo-commercial project report for same kindly provide the details

  9. We are looking for PLA granules and extrusion machines to be set up in Tamil Nadu. Can you help me by providing details? Thanks

  10. Hi,
    Warm greetings… My name is Kamal Abdul Nazar.
    I like to start a small scale bio plastic biodegradable and organic grocery bags, dust bin bags and other food packing options .
    I need comprehensive , high ethical and professional business training and professional guidance from you people.
    Thanks & Regards

  11. Hi ,
    My name is Gautam Kapoor . I am based out in Amritsar,Punjab . Just wanted to have a know how , how we can start a Bioplastic carry bags and allied items for medium and small scale .Any body can help with the investment cost and land requirement.
    Regards
    GK
    09417291884

  12. Hey we are setting up a Bioplastic plant in chennai. We would require some technical consulting. Hope to get a reply soon.

    • Hello sir,
      I’m Shanmugam. Actually, I’m a civil engineering 2019 passed out, searching for a job in bioplastic manufacturing units. Could you please consider me.

      • Hi Shanmugam,
        This is not the right forum to find jobs in Bioplastics. search elsewhere on Naukri or write directly to relevant companies

  13. I need to start a bioplastic manufacturing unit along with some mould machine. Capacity say 2 tons per day.

    Please send detailed project report with costing to ysmbela@gmail.com.

    Regards

    Y S MATHUR

    • Thanks Yogesh for your interest to set up a bioplastic unit. Yes, we can send you a project report provided you can pay for it

  14. I want to setup a biodegradable plastic product range. Can you provide any assistance in it. please provide a sample and a quote for the study report.

  15. We are planning to use bioplastics such as Arboform – ‘Liquid Wood – made from the byproducts of the wood pulp industries’ as packing material instead of plastic, which would be a huge step towards a plastic-free environment. I would like to know if there are any manufacturers of Arboform as there are so many paper and wood pulp industries in India.

  16. How many companies are producing Bio Plastic resin (PLA resin) in India.
    I am interested in making Bio Plastic sheet, bags etc

  17. I want to take dealership for bioplastic.. In west bengal.. I need some suggestions and a path where I can continue.

  18. Hi Sir,

    It was a pleasure to connect with you through LinkedIn. We want to introduce ourselves as one of the leading Clean-tech Company from India. With a portfolio of more than 1 GW solar power projects, Rays Power Infra is ranked as 3rd largest solar PV EPC players in India.

    We went through your profile and found your products to be of interest, hence would like to express our interest in a collaboration with your firm in the most suitable manner of developing the bio-resins in India.

  19. Hi,
    Myself Riya K R. I’m a post graduate in Bio-polymer science from CIPET, Cochin. I would like to work in a Biopolymer R & D. So plz help me to find a better job for me

    • Hai Riya. This is Suraj from Kerala as well. I do some research based on this. Currently I am back home for working on developing a similar product. I am looking forward to connect with you. I would like to industrialize this product and I think CIPET will have a large part in helping me out. You could email me or whatsapp me in +19025492025. Hope you will get back to me.

      • I want to set up Bioplastics manufacturing plant at kolkata . We need detail report and consultant . Pl
        Provide the same .

  20. Hi Levine,

    Am interested in taking up the dealership in Karnataka
    Can we please get in touch for the same

    Thanks
    Sujith

  21. Dear Sir , We are Interested in buying PLA for coating on Paper to replace Poly Ethylene. Kindly please share the prodct TDS . I would like to know the Melting Point of PLA and whether it can be Processed on a Hotmelt coating Machine ( Generally Hotmelt adhesives melt at 150-160 deg c ) . Incase if the PLA grade is suitable for melting at 150-160 deg c than there is a huge potential in India. Hot Melt coating mc are quite cost effective as compared to PE Extrusion Coating mc.

  22. Hi I’m sudha ..
    We are looking at setting up a Bioplastic plant and we require technical consultation n assistant …please do reply to us on the email shared..
    Thank u

  23. We want PLA & PBAT granules for compounding. Both materials are available in India? If yes, provide manufacturer or dealer. Our use in good quantity like 20 matric tone per month. My email is “pravinsinh7@gmail.com”.

  24. We are looking to setup a bioplastic plant for packing products in Pune. Currently we are in Injection Molding Business and please guide us to diversify my current business into bioplastic. My email id is “djghadge@gmail.com”.

  25. hi Levine Lawrence
    we are planning to open a manufacturing plant for this product and i want to see how the industry works and what sort of machinery is required so please help

  26. hey there….
    i m a student of grade 10 n i working on bioplastic last since 1 year as i m succesful in constructing the plastic n i want to take it to the high level of that if ur are intersted in helping me out in sucessfulling this project all over the world it will be great.
    As per ur interset pls reply me through email

  27. Hi,

    Im CA Sindhu ,an environmentalist who wants to set up a business manufacturing eco friendly bags,tableware and food delivery packages hot and cold.If anyone can help me with project consultancy,technical know how and technical report please advice

  28. I am looking for a vendor, who can provide me with the latest technology and fully automated bio-degradable bag machinery.

  29. HI,
    This is Shankar from Kuwait, currently, I’m working in a plastics manufacturing unit in Kuwait. our product foodstuffs & flexo plastic, In Kuwait also they’re planning to move bioplastic if you could send me the full process of the bioplastic process instead of polyethylene after that we can further business with you.

  30. How to convert wheat straw powder into table ware items.like dish, plates etc.
    Know the process or suggest who providing this technology.

  31. DEAR SIR,

    WE NEED PLA RESINS EITHER IN CLEAR OR OPAQUE.
    GRANULES CPLA BIO DEGRADABLE.
    WE ARE SWITCHING TO PLA FOR FOOD GRADE MATERIAL .
    IF YOU KNOW THE GRANULES SUPPLY PLS DO SHARE US WITH BEST FINAL PRICES WITH TESTING CERTIFICATE.

  32. Hi,
    Am actively researching on biodegradable project and planing to start me start up business manufacturing is any one guide me or consulting.

    Regards
    Nishikant

  33. Hi I’m ashwin ..
    We are looking at setting up a edible Bioplastic plant and we require technical consultation n cost of plant setup
    Thank u

  34. Hi,

    I am Gregore Poulose I wants to set up a business manufacturing eco friendly bags,tableware and food delivery packages hot and cold.If anyone can help me with project consultancy,technical know how and technical report please advice

  35. Hi ,
    I am C.P.Nimodia, seriously interested in setting us a Bio-plastic industry for manufacturing carry bags, garbage bags etc in the state of Assam, needs consultancy and guidance,
    regards

  36. Hi

    I am interested to set up bio plastic in Bangladesh. Can provide us consultation including machinery selection?

    Pranabesh

    • Hi Pranabesh,
      Thank you very much for your interest in setting up a bioplastics unit. While we can provide you guidance you on business setup, we cannot help much of market specific issues in Bangladesh

  37. Hello

    Am planning to start a bioplastic processing unit to be set up in Kenya.Please can you offer consultancy on the best line for a start up.Plastic bags have been banned here therefore the dire need for an alternative.

  38. We are manufacturer of biodegradable granules from Maharashtra (India). We invented this most cheaper raw material to make carry bags, garbage bags, plastic rolls etc. Parties who are interested in getting more information about our product

    • Namaskar bhau ,

      We are a new company dealing in Maharashtra (india) working on only sustainable , biodegradable nature friendly products , need more information regarding your raw material . We have a good reach might help us grow together .. thank u

    • Hi Shivrajji
      Please provide your contact details for sourcing Bioplastics raw material
      Are you making Cassava Based Bioplastics?
      Umesh Bhasin
      Pharmaskil
      New Delhi-110027

    • Hello Mr. Shivraj,

      I am looking for Biodegradable Granules for production of 100% Biodegradable Industrial packaging films. Kindly revert me back in details about the Quality and price of granules you can supply.

      Is it PLA or PHA?

      Regards,
      Ajay Nagle
      +919977132203

  39. Shivrajji
    I am from L.D.College of Engineering, Ahmedabad. Am interested to know more about the low cost material developed by you.
    Thanks,
    Prof.Bharati G Basantani

  40. We want set up this business, please provide us necessary information regarding various stages required to make a viable business proposal, joint venture or technology could also be evaluated. Looking to set up in the Western Maharashtra, India.

  41. we have set up a plant for the manufacturing of LDPE /HM films and have the necessary die to start production of biodegradable bioplastic. we are looking out for the necessary raw materials to do the same. lalit sitani

    • Hi Lalit,
      Thanks for your interest to set up a bioplastic unit. Do check your mail for further details.

  42. I’m looking for setting up bioplastic manufacturing unit. I’m currently looking for the equipment required. It would be helpful, if someone can help in finding the manufacturing process, equipment required, capacities of the machinery etc.

    Thanks in Advance!

  43. Hello, I am from Kolkata and want to trade on bio degradable plastic product in West Bengal. Kindly provide the cost of the finished product of carry bag etc.

  44. I need to start a bioplastic(PLA) manufacturing unit along with some machinery. Capacity say 5 tons per day.

    Regards
    Utsav Patel

  45. Dear All,

    I am salaried person wanted to set up a small biodegradable bags unit. Can any body help me out on how to proceed technically as well as economically. Will get any help from government or what (Financially) etc….

    • Hi Narayan, honestly speaking, it is a bit late to enter the bioplastics market since there are too many players now. Better idea would be to start as a trading partner for large companies to get a grip on the market first

  46. Hi,
    I am well salaried person and i want to start a unit regarding biodegradable unit especailly PLA since the growing demand of plastic will ruin our generation in the concern of climate change, as i want to start a biodegradable products. Please help.

  47. Hi, My name is Umesh Bhasin
    I am based out in New Delhi and have been in Pharma & Healthcare Industry for the last more than three decades. Post Pandemic we plan to set up a Bioplastic manufacturing facility for BMW usage as well as carry bag/grocery bags.
    We are looking for know how for medium and small scale unit in Delhi NCR. Any body can help with the investment cost and a detailed Feasibility Project Report
    Regards
    Umesh Bhasin

  48. I’m actually looking for a Factory in India, preferably in Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu or Bangaluru area , producing cosmetic bottles containers jars made of materials made from starch of corn, sugarcane, potato and other renewable crops . Could I receive some infos about it ? We’re starting a new import business of ayurvedic cosmetics made in India ,but we want to use biodegradable containers . Thank you for your attention

  49. Hi,

    We are looking for raw materials for bio plastics manufacturing like PLA , PBAT, PBS in big quantity.

    Can you please help to source? Who are the big importers or manufacturers in India.

  50. We are trying to study the feasibility of a project to introduce and expand green plastics into the injection-molding of cosmetics packaging and plastic parts of household electronics devices in Turkey. We have a company available to create pilot molds and determine process parameters and need to find suitable materials. Does anyone know of green replacements that can meet the finish requirements for cosmetics packaging (lipstick, mascara, eye-liner, blush-powder boxes etc.) or for plastic panels for electronics devices? The company currently uses a range of plastics (ABS, ASA, PS, HIPS, SAN, PP, PE etc.) so if there are standard materials used as replacements for these, that would be very helpful as well as we could test them to see if we can get the quality needed. Finally, if the plastics are biodegradable, we would request some information on whether microplastics concerns remain on decomposition, as that could change our project details. Thanks!

  51. I am a Ph.D. scholar working on PHA production and would like to enquire if there are companies in India where I can purchase PHA granules for my research work or if there is any company that can provide me PHA.

  52. Hi I am looking to manufacturer biodegradable polymer using PBAT AND PLA I am ready to pay your fees for information you provided to us
    Please contact me at

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