Sugarcane Bagasse vs Paper Food Packaging: Why You Should Make the Switch

September 23, 2022

Paper products have been a mainstay in the packaging industry for a good reason: they have been instrumental in reducing plastic waste. More recently, a new, innovative, and more sustainable packaging option has emerged.

The game changer? Sugarcane bagasse.

Although paper and sugarcane bagasse have similar characteristics in terms of appearance, texture, durability, and temperature resistance, there are several underlying differences that this article will delve into.

Sustainability

Growing wood pulp for paper and other related products can take up to 20 years. Additionally, this industrial process endangers the environment due to deforestation, resulting in ecosystem degradation and a decline in carbon absorption capacity.

One of the many benefits of switching to sugarcane bagasse is that it only takes approximately a year to grow. In addition, it is a waste product not explicitly grown for the sole purpose of food and beverage packaging. Once the sugarcane juice has been extracted, the fibrous pulp can be recycled into packaging.

Eco-Friendliness

The primary distinction between paper and bagasse packaging is that paper packaging material is generated from trees, while sugarcane bagasse material is derived from sugarcane. Comparatively, to produce 1,000 kilograms of pulp, 1,500 kilograms of bagasse are needed, which equates to 5,000 kilograms of wood to come up with the same quantity of paper packaging material.

Moreover, the continued use of paper packaging promotes rapid deforestation and slower afforestation—a repercussion that should be reconsidered when using wood as source material.

Renewability

Sugarcane is classified as a fast renewable resource as it can be renewed in less than 10 years, between 10–18 months. This characteristic makes it a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper and wood.

Durability

Bagasse is remarkably resilient. Its coarse fibres are an ideal base material for durable packaging production, making it more robust and long-lasting than its paper packaging counterpart. Bagasse is also exceptionally resistant to grease and moisture.

Unlike regular paper products, which tend to be flimsy when used in hot beverages, sugarcane bagasse can withstand high temperatures of up to 200 °F.

Compostability

One of bagasse’s benefits is its compostability.

Bagasse decomposes rapidly far more quickly than wood-based paper products. Also, during its decomposition, it does not emit any hazardous compounds, which makes it eco-friendly. Moreover, the bagasse pulping process is less damaging to the environment than the paper-making process from trees, as the latter involves deforestation.

Final Thoughts

With the continuous rise of environmental issues today, immediate action to reduce carbon footprint is needed now more than ever. One of the major contributors to the unnatural acceleration of climate change is deforestation. The paper and pulp industries are second to housing and construction as significant consumers of forest land.

Although bagasse and paper products may share similar features and characteristics, their environmental effects clinch the tie. Paper decomposes more slowly than sugarcane bagasse, so it remains longer in landfills. Furthermore, paper consumes valuable resources that can otherwise be preserved. All these things considered, it is imperative to shift to more sustainable packaging using bagasse products to start.

K & W Eco Plus is committed to joining forces with communities to reduce the use of environmentally hazardous packaging alternatives for everyone’s well-being. If you want bagasse packaging that is both eco-friendly and premium quality, partner with us today. Visit our website to learn more.

 

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