Sustainable Food Packaging: What Exactly Is Sugarcane Bagasse/Fibre?

Sugarcane bagasse or fibre packaging is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional packaging options available today. It has various advantages for packaging, food, and textile industries because it is renewable and ethically sourced.

This article will tell you what you need to know about sugarcane bagasse and why you should consider switching to it.

What Is Bagasse?

Bagasse, otherwise known as sugarcane pulp, is a fibrous residue left after sugarcane stalks have been drained for their juice. It is commonly used as a fuel in the sugarcane mill or as cellulose for animal feed production.

In addition, sugarcane bagasse is a vital component in the production of building materials and conversion into various compostable packaging. This material is considered a highly renewable resource since it uses non-edible byproducts from food production.

How Is Sugarcane Bagasse/Fibre Produced?

Converting sugarcane bagasse or fibre into a sustainable product is straightforward. First, the collected sugarcane stalks are pressed for their juice and nutritional components.

The fibres are then thoroughly mixed with water to generate a pulp that has a comparable consistency similar to wood pulp. Finally, pressure and heat are applied to mould the pulp into various products.

The polymer composition of sugarcane bagasse is as follows: 45%––55% cellulose, 20%–25% hemicellulose, 18%–25% lignin, 1%–4% ash, and <1% of extra waves. This composition produces a multipurpose, eco-friendly material that can be made into different sustainable products.

What Are the Environmental Benefits of Using Sugarcane Bagasse/Fibre as a food Service Product?

Sugarcane bagasse or fibre offers enormous benefits by providing an alternative to tree-based paper products.

  • Compostable. With the aid of industrial composting, sugarcane byproducts can decompose even more rapidly. In as early as 60 days, sugarcane bagasse can be composted into a nutrient-rich, eco-friendly fertiliser.

  • Renewable. Approximately 1.2 billion tonnes of sugarcane are produced every year. Out of it, only 100 million tonnes of bagasse are created. Although some portion of it is used as a biofuel, majority of the bagasse are usually disposed. Using bagasse as a raw material for packaging production has significantly reduced waste and supported farmers.

  • Environmentally-Friendly. Studies have identified timber production as one of the four key contributors to deforestation. Trees are a resource-intensive process, taking a long time to grow to maturity before they can be harvested (7-10 years). Sugarcane bagasse, on the other hand, can be harvested annually, making it a rapidly renewable resource.

How Does Sugarcane Bagasse/Fibre Compare to Other Packaging Options?

Styrofoam and plastic do not only present environmental dangers but health hazards as well. Both materials take 450 years to decompose. What’s worse is that most of them end up as a pollutant to the environment.

Despite laws prohibiting the use of styrofoam, its popularity continues to endure as it is lightweight, cost-effective, and able to maintain internal temperature.

Sugarcane fibre is an excellent substitute for paper products, styrofoam, and plastic packaging. It is a comparable and cost-effective alternative.

Sugarcane bagasse also provides several advantages, which include resistance to high temperatures, grease, and water. It is durable, freezer- and microwave-safe, and has high-insulating properties. Furthermore, sugarcane fibre is porous; hence it is breathable. It absorbs excess moisture, which helps in food preservation.

What Is the Difference Between Corn Polycetic Acid and Sugarcane Bagasse?

There are several differences between polyacetic acid and sugarcane bagasse:

  • Polyacetic acid (PLA) is derived from corn starch, while bagasse is from the residue of sugarcane extract.

  • PLA packaging is only suitable for cold foods, whereas sugarcane bagasse products can be used for hot and cold foods.

  • Sugarcane bagasse breaks down faster in an industrial composting facility compared to PLA products.

  • In general, the manufacturing of PLA products requires more energy than the production of sugarcane bagasse products.

Will Sugarcane Bagasse Benefit My Business?

If your food business uses paper, styrofoam, or plastic and you are passionate about offering sustainable, renewable, and compostable products to your customers, then sugarcane bagasse packaging is worth considering.

If you would like to try sugarcane bagasse packaging, we offer a wide array of collections for you to choose from. Contact us to learn more about how our sustainable and eco-friendly products can meet your packaging needs.


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