In recent years, bagasse packaging has become increasingly popular as an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic dishes and take-out boxes. In this article, you’ll learn why businesses should use bagasse packaging to reduce their environmental footprint.
What is bagasse?
Bagasse is the plant fiber left over after sugarcane juice is extracted from sugarcane and is also known as megassa or sugarcane cake. As it is a waste product, it is renewable and can be extracted with minimal impact on the environment. With 100 tons of sugarcane stalks grown throughout the year and obtained after the sugarcane harvest, between 30 and 34 tons of bagasse can be obtained by grinding it.
Bagasse is a bioproduct made from the fibers of the sugar cane that remain after the extraction of juice from the sugar cane. The plates and bowls made from bagasse are pressed in a high temperature and high-pressure process. Since sugar cane is a renewable plant, its by-product, bagasse, is an excellent raw material for the manufacture of products such as tableware (bowls, plates, trays, and containers).
What are the advantages and characteristics of bagasse products?
Bagasse products are 100% biodegradable and can be composted. Bagasse products are natural fiber-based products and decompose in 30 to 60 days. Because bagasse products are made from natural, organic, and renewable materials, the natural components are returned to the environment as they break down. Bagasse products are an excellent alternative to expanded polystyrene and petroleum-based plastics, which can take thousands of years to break down.
Bagasse products also withstand high temperatures and can be stored in microwaves and freezers. As with paper, very hot foods can reduce the strength of bagasse, but it is an excellent compostable material for food service that can withstand high temperatures.
Bagasse products hold liquids well and are resistant to oil and cuts. Very hot liquids can reduce the strength of bagasse products or cause them to sweat after a while.
Can bagasse products be put in the oven?
Bagasse products can withstand heat up to 200F. Therefore, they can be used in ovens up to 200 F. It is not recommended to use bagasse/sugar cane products in very high-temperature ovens.
Is it biodegradable?
Bagasse is 100% biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about a negative impact on the environment when you stop using it. It can be disposed of with other household and industrial waste, and when exposed to microorganisms, fungi, and bacteria, it degrades in 90 days without human intervention. Compared to plastics, which take up to 400 years to degrade, and polystyrene, which does not degrade, bagasse is one of the most environmentally friendly food packaging materials.
Can it be composted?
Bagasse can be composted at home, but in commercial composting, it breaks down quickly and is composted in 60 days.
Is bagasse an alternative to plastic?
Yes, it is! Not only is bagasse very environmentally friendly, it is also oil and water-resistant, can be used in microwaves and freezers, and insulates better than plastic packaging.
What is the carbon footprint I can reduce by using bagasse packaging instead of plastic or paper?
The carbon footprint of a 10-inch (22 g) bagasse plate is about 164 g. Making it a much more sustainable option than the carbon footprint of a 9-inch (10.8 g) polystyrene plate. Which weighs about 6 kg. However, at only 3.8 grams, the paper plate has the lowest carbon footprint. At first glance, the paper seems to be the most environmentally friendly option, but that’s without taking into account the many other negative effects of the paper industry on the environment.
Are paper plates environmentally friendly?
Paper production is the fifth most energy-intensive industry in the world. The production of an A4 sheet of paper requires 10 liters of water. About 40% of the world’s industrially harvested wood is used for paper production. And when these trees are cut down, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. This is a greenhouse gas that accelerates global warming. If the current rate of deforestation continues, all the remaining rainforests on the planet will be destroyed within 100 years. The paper breaks down in much less time than plastic, but the process produces methane. Methane absorbs heat very efficiently and is 23 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Bagasse production itself can also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For every kilogram of bagasse produced, 1.794 kilograms of carbon dioxide are absorbed by the sugarcane.