Some of the largest agricultural producers in the world today are in the Southeast Asian regions. These areas are also some of the biggest producers of biomass waste. The farming practices carried out in these regions are often outdated and more harmful to the environment than they need to be, or than they could be with more investment and new technologies.
Thousands of tonnes of biomass waste are destroyed each year, sometimes by being left to decompose, sometimes by being burned. The antiquated ‘slash-and-burn’ method of agriculture is outlined in the embedded short video.
Teysha Technologies have developed a patented platform that can be used to tackle this issue by transforming biomass waste into usable biopolymers for construction and packaging.
Duncan Clark, Teysha Technologies’ Head of Business Operations, explains that the platform can be used to tackle the twin issues of biomass waste and single-use plastic waste.
The Teysha Technologies Platform
The Teysha Technologies platform is the result of over a decade of research, understanding the problem of plastic waste and searching for a viable solution. The polycarbonate platform developed and patented by Teysha Technologies has been formulated to have the capacity to generate a wide range of biopolymers created from agricultural waste products.
These polycarbonate materials can be tuned to meet a comprehensive range of uses, with novel combinations of toughness, durability, and strength. Once their purpose has been filled and the product lifecycle comes to an end, Teysha Technologies’ products can be broken down when exposed to specific natural conditions, resulting in non-harmful substances.
Making Use of Waste
Waste products that traditionally come from agricultural crops such as tapioca, wheat, corn, and sugar bagasse, all of which are grown extensively in the Southeast Asian region, contain elements of natural starch and cellulose. It is these elements that the Teysha Technologies platform can utilise to reduce waste sustainably and create second-generation bioplastics.
Large agricultural conglomerates in this area and anywhere in the world could not only reduce waste and harm to the environment but could in fact profit from materials that would otherwise be wasted by embracing this new biopolymer technology as part of the agricultural process. The polymers created are a tested, realistic alternative to many forms of single use plastic for packaging and other plastics for construction and packing materials.
Protecting the Environment
Generating bioplastics from agricultural waste could be part of the solution to the global problem of plastics filling the oceans. It could also help protect the environment in other ways. Many of the current practices used in areas such as Southeast Asia for destroying or otherwise getting rid of agricultural waste are harmful to the environment. When waste is burned, many toxic gases can be released into the atmosphere.
In the long-term, releasing more methane into the atmosphere contributes to climate change. In the immediate term, the release of methane alongside other harmful gases such as ammonia and nitrogen oxide can pose many health risks to human populations in the areas, which include chronic bronchitis, respiratory illness asthma, and a variety of skin and eye diseases.
Finding an alternative use for these waste products will mean they do not have to be burned or left to decompose, resulting in lower levels of emissions and a lower risk of health issues for communities.
Southeast Asia is not the only region that could benefit from an alternative solution for agricultural waste and plastic consumption. The infographic attachment looks at some of the figures for food and agricultural waste in the UK.