BRIN manufactures environmentally friendly plastic using nuclear technology – The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has created environmentally friendly plastic from tapioca waste using nuclear technology to overcome the problem of plastic waste, which is difficult to break down naturally.

“The production of biodegradable plastic (of course easily degradable) as a replacement for plastic-reduced products helps to reduce plastic waste,” said Tita Puspitasari, coordinator of the BRIN radiation process, on Monday (November 22nd, 2021).

The increasing amount of plastic waste, particularly from single-use plastic waste, is a problem that is particularly dangerous to the environment because of its non-biodegradable nature.

The use of plastics grew exponentially from a few hundred tons in the 1930s to 150 million tons per year in the 1990s and 220 million tons per year in 2005.

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In 2009, the consumption of plastics in Western European countries reached 60 kilograms per person per year, in America 80 kilograms per person per year, India only two kilograms per person per year and in Indonesia 10 kilograms per person per year.

In 2016, Indonesia’s total waste generation reached 66 million tons / year, of which 16 percent was plastic.

Plastic is a big problem because it is difficult to break down in nature. To be completely degraded, it takes several hundred years, even up to 400 years, so that the plastic waste generated accumulates and pollutes the environment.

Plastic is difficult to decompose in nature because it is made from petroleum, which has very strong chemical bonds between molecules and does not like water, making it difficult for microorganisms or bacteria to decompose or eat plastic molecules.

Based on this problem, BRIN uses nuclear technology to produce environmentally friendly plastics that are easily biodegradable, so it is hoped that this will provide a solution to replace non-environmentally friendly plastic products.

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The environmentally friendly plastic is made from tapioca waste composites using methods and processes that are relatively inexpensive, simple, safe, and applicable.

To make environmentally friendly plastics, plastic properties are engineered using nuclear technology in the form of radiation technology and natural adaptive materials so that they can naturally decompose.

The environmentally friendly plastic is made from tapioca waste, hydrophobic polymers and other natural materials. The plastic can be molded into various household products such as pots, baskets, buckets, bowls or containers and beverage bottles.

In the manufacture of plastics, gamma-ray technology is used, in which the radiation is used to chemically bond natural polymers with synthetic polymers through radical reactions.

These free radicals arise from the interaction of gamma radiation with the irradiated material.

In addition, free radical reactions that form the bond of natural polymers with synthetic polymers go through several reaction steps, including free radical formation, free radical propagation, and free radical recombination. [Antara]