The commonality of disposable vegetable containers and polystyrene containers
Both types of these disposable containers are used for take-out food. But this is the only common point between them.
Materials used in disposable vegetable containers and polystyrene containers
Polystyrene (PS) containers
Polystyrene is an aromatic synthetic polymer of styrene monomer (a petrochemical material), which is used to make cups, plates, bowls, take-out food containers, etc. This material is known for its light weight, which is made up of 95% air. In fact, in the not-so-distant past, polystyrene cups were considered the best way to drink hot liquids. Polystyrene was used 30 years ago as a cheap and excellent insulation to keep coffee hot. But later this material was also used in disposable containers, which is considered the worst type of use of this material.
Polystyrene products are usually made from petroleum, unstable and highly polluted materials. Polystyrene packaging is usually sold in white. Polystyrenes release styrene in food, which can damage the nervous system and possibly lead to cancer. Temperature plays an important role in determining the amount of styrene released by polystyrene containers. This means that using them for hot foods and drinks (such as hot coffee in a polystyrene cup) may release more of this substance.
Polystyrene recycling involves complex chemical processes and consumes a lot of energy. In addition, the recycling market of this product is very small and not economically viable. Therefore, recycling organizations do not want to recycle this material. Polystyrene recycling is not a closed cycle. Due to the chemical process, polystyrene beads are converted into polystyrene foam. This means that the polystyrene cup is not turned into a cup again, but into other products such as filling materials inside the packaging. In the process of making polystyrenes, air pollution and large amounts of solid and liquid waste are created. These manufactured products are not biodegradable.
Polystyrene cups are not completely destroyed even 500 years after burial. Polystyrene that is thrown away in nature, either as liquid waste or after its solid waste is broken into pieces, remains in the environment for a very long time and is gradually transferred to waterways and oceans. This incident causes serious damage to sea creatures both physically and chemically, and in the long run hunting of these sea creatures by humans will cause serious damage to the health of consumers. Due to pressure from environmental groups and shareholders, McDonald’s replaced its polystyrene cups used for hot drinks with other environmentally friendly cups.
Disposable vegetarian dishes
Disposable vegetable containers such as bio-friendly vegetable containers are made of corn starch. These containers are environmentally friendly like bamboo containers. In the right conditions (temperature, humidity and the presence of microbes), the products biodegrade in nature for up to 6 months. These products have become non-toxic humus that can be used as fertilizer. Bio-based disposable containers are made from corn starch. The process of making these products is as follows: corn is converted into flour and starch in the first step, then corn starch is combined with other additives and a small amount of polypropylene in high-speed mixers, and then in an extruder. It turns into vegetable granules. In the next step, the granules are made into vegetable sheets and finally they become vegetable containers in different shapes in different forming machines.
Bio-based disposable containers include the following benefits
- Made from biodegradable resources
- Degradability in the right conditions (temperature, humidity and presence of microbes), after 6 months
- Free of toxic substances
- Free from any harmful effects of plastic and chemical substances even when in contact with hot food
- Can be reused up to 3 times
- Less energy consumption in the production process
- Can be used in microwave and freezer