Although the abundance of recycling programs around the world might suggest that recycling is keeping plastic out of landfils and oceans, exactly the opposite is true. Not all plastics can be recycled, and plastic waste builds up in massive ocean gyres such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Marine wildlife is especially negatively impacted by these gyres.
The problem is that eliminating plastic from daily life would be close to impossible. Plastic is everywhere. It holds our food and drink. It makes our lives more convenient. It’s used in many essential and non-essential applications that touches nearly facet of our lives.
One sticking point over time has been water bottles. In the U.S., 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded every second. This massive amount of waste is a major contributor to pollution and has encouraged many replacements, such as glass and metal reusable bottles, in its place. That’s why we vowed to not use plastic while developing our atmospheric water generator (AWG) factory — how could we solve the problem of water access without causing another problem?
Thankfully, developments in water bottle manufacturing have shown that biodegradable plastic options — plastics that naturally occurring organisms can fully break down without harming the environment — hold up just as well as traditional plastics do.
To understand how biodegradable plastics are made, it’s important to understand the traditional plastics manufacturing process. Many plastics are made from the same source as a leading green movement enemy: fossil fuels. Plastics are often made from oil, coal, and, most frequently, natural gas.
Biodegradable plastics are instead made at least partially from substances found in fully natural plant materials, such as corn oil. Their manufacturing requires less energy, and therefore fewer fossil fuels, reducing their carbon footprint. Furthermore, they often decompose much more quickly than traditional plastics — which can take half a millennium to fully decompose.
Biodegradable plastics are already all around us. PLA (polylactic acid), a plastic made from sugars in corn starch, sugarcane, or cassava, is replacing traditional plastics such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene in plastic water bottles, plastic cutlery, and packaging, respectively. Studies have shown that entirely eliminating traditional single-use plastic in favor of PLA could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
The PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) that bacteria produce when they ferment lipids and sugars can be converted into plastics for water bottle usage as well. Although the traditional single-use plastics found in water bottles are terrible for the environment, these PHA bottles are especially eco-friendly. Once disposed of, they will fully break down whether they’re composted, go to landfill, or find their way into soil or water.
Despite the known harm that plastics can cause to the environment, they remain the primary material used in water bottles. If plastics will continue to be used in water bottles, they should be done so in ways that won’t damage the environment. That’s why, at TUAFI, we only use fully-biodegradable water bottles made from traditional petrochemicals, which are engineered to break down more quickly..
At TUAFI, we believe any solutions to the global water crisis will require thinking far outside the box. We need to be able to provide clean, potable water to people all over the world, without worsening other growing global crises. That’s why we’ve devised an atmospheric water generation (AWG) factory.
Our AWG factory is designed to produce 20,000 bottles of clean water daily, which we would then distribute to customers and communities in need. Unlike the standard AWG machine, which requires people to visit the machine with the container of their choice, we fill up biodegradable bottles to make the water easy to distribute anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that no solution to the global water crisis should further contribute to the massive amount of plastic polluting our oceans — another vital mass of water affected by human behavior. Our bottles will degrade naturally, without leaking toxic chemicals into the environment.
A global crisis so vast demands a revolutionary, eco-friendly solution. That’s why we’re using Fundable to help get our AWG factory off the ground. Click here to request more information about how we plan to counter the global water crisis without leaving a dent on the environment.