Images of ﬁlthy beaches strewn with plastic and marine life choking on plastic bags has made an indelible impact on millions across the globe, and yet our reliance on single-use plastic has continued unabated.
According to the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, the average UAE resident uses 1,182 plastic bags per year – triple the global average. And what happens with all this plastic? 91% of it ends up in our oceans or in landﬁlls, permanently staining the environment.
As conventional plastic is not biodegradable, all it does is breakdown into small pieces called microplastics which can be toxic and can easily end up in our food or water supply. The painful result is felt both around the world and locally. In the UAE, 50% of all camel deaths are attributable to singleuse plastics. Step forward Purecog. The Dubai-based sustainable tech company has pioneered a new form of thin-ﬁ lm plastic replacement water-soluble bags which could mean an end to wasteful and damaging single-use plastics.
WHAT IS PURECOG'S SOLUTION?
Environmentally friendly, Hydroplast bags are created from a polymer which is everything plastic isn’t. Water-soluble. Biodegradable. Compostable. Recyclable. Sustainable. Marine safe. Rather than spending thousands of years in a landﬁll, or destroying our oceans, Hydroplast bags can be dissolved safely, and instantly, in water. Below 63°c, whether in water or landﬁll, Hydroplast takes an absolute maximum of 1 year to fully break down. At 63°c and above, Hydroplast breaks down immediately into its original and natural state of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Completely harmless elements.
It is in fact so clean that when dissolved in water it is 100% safe for human consumption. All of our commonly used plastics are hydrophobic (water hating) which means they resist the water they are in and attract other hydrophobic materials to them such as pesticides and other toxins. This allows for these plastics to concentrate toxins in combination with longevity – a perfect storm. Hydroplast’s material is hydrophilic (water liking) and has no propensity to attract toxins or form micro plastics and is itself non-toxic to marine fauna as deﬁned by tests conducted by the Open University.
As well as causing zero damage to our environment at the end of their life, Hydroplast products are actually more than twice as strong as typical thin-ﬁ lm plastic – making them both the sustainable and practical choice. No more ripped bags as you throw them in the trash. The unique properties of Hydroplast means it has advantages that far outweigh those of plastic bags, especially when used in the hospitality industry.
One such example is in the processing of laundry in a hotel. Rather than transporting soiled sheets from bedrooms to the washing rooms in laundry bags which are emptied and reﬁlled causing cross-contamination, Hydroplast bags can be ﬁlled and simply thrown in the washing machine with the laundry where they will disintegrate safely. Economically, Hydroplast bags also hit the mark. Even with all the beneﬁts that they provide, rather than cost more than environment damaging plastic bags, they are actually 5% cheaper on average.
One of the services provided by Purecog is a sustainability audit which will provide clients with a strategy to use their resources in a smarter way. They will objectively evaluate and assess an organisation’s plastic footprint and highlight solutions for an organisation to become more efficient, more sustainable and lower operational costs. In the case of one restaurant operator, that 5% saving counted for a lot when multiplied across the 150,000 single-use plastic items they were using each month – not to mention the beneﬁt to the environment.
Hydroplast is just one of the Purecog technological innovations that saw parent company Pure CE, the private equity circular economy specialists, named as one of 50 most innovative companies to watch in 2019 by respected Silicon Valley publication The Silicon Review. The technology plays its part in Purecog’s promise to positively impact an organisation’s triple bottom-line: People, planet and profit.
WIDER SOCIAL CHANGE
Hydroplast has come to the market just in time. Across the world, single-use plastics are being phased out. Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport have both promised to ban everything from plastic cutlery to shopping bags in consumer spaces from January 2020. Even whole countries are following suit. New Zealand has already banned single-use plastic bags, while Canada has said it will ban all single-use plastics by 2021.
Numerous campaigns are taking place across the hospitality industry, whether in the removal of plastic straws, or delivery companies no longer providing cutlery, but the sector still lags behind in using a number of other single-use plastic items such as trash bags, piping bags, cling ﬁlm, gloves and aprons. Non-proﬁt UAE marine conservation AZRAQ has also championed the cause Hydroplast seeks to address.
With 86% of turtle species and 44% of marine mammals estimated to have fed on plastic, change is needed to stem a global catastrophe. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than ﬁ sh. For the planet and for your business, the beneﬁts of Hydroplast speak for themselves.