What is Bagasse?
Quite simply, Bagasse refers to the crushed sugarcane pulp, which is the plant-based fibrous material left behind when sugarcane is being harvested. The main benefits of the Bagasse material rely on its natural properties which is why it is being used as a sustainable alternative material to replace conventional plastic in the food service packaging industry.
What is Bagasse main benefits?
- Grease and water-resistant properties
- High resistance to temperature, easily withstands up to 95 degrees
- Highly insulating, ensuring food is kept hot for longer than traditional plastic and paper food packaging
- microwave and freezer safe
- High strength and durability
The catering and hospitality industry has been striving to reduce its carbon footprint by turning into more sustainable and environmentally friendly food packaging solutions. Bagasse biodegradable food containers include disposable cups, plates, bowls, and takeaway boxes.
Its sustainable and eco-friendly features include:
- Natural Renewable resource
As Bagasse is a natural by-product produced from sustainable sources, it has very little impact on the environment. It’s a natural resource that is easily replenished because the fibre residue can be obtained from each harvest.
- Biodegradable & Compostable
Unlike plastic packaging that can take up to 400 years to degrade, Bagasse can biodegrade normally within 90 days, making it ideal for eco-friendly food packaging worldwide.
- Readily available
Sugarcane is a crop with high bio-conversion efficiency and can be harvested in a single season, which makes bagasse material readily available and highly sustainable as a packaging material for the catering and hospitality sector.
How is Bagasse produced?
Bagasse is effectively a by-product of the sugar industry. It is the fibrous residue that remains after sugarcane stalks are crushed for sugar extraction. On average, 30–34 tons of bagasse can be extracted from processing 100 tons of sugarcane in a factory.
Bagasse is similar in component to wood except that it has high moisture content. It is obtained in countries of where sugar production is prevalent such as Brazil, Vietnam, China, and Thailand. It is composed primarily of Cellulose and Hemicellulose along with Lignin and small quantities of ash and waxes.
Bagasse as a great alternative to harmful plastics
In light of the recent climate change COP27 summit, the ever-increasing threat posed by plastic pollution has never been more pressing. It is estimated that:
- Around 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution can be found on every mile of beach in the UK.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish (by weight).
- 165 million tonnes of plastic are currently present in the earth’s oceans around the globe.
- Staggeringly, 79% of plastic waste makes its way to landfills or the ocean, while only 9% is recycled, and 12% gets incinerated.
Hence, it makes every eco-friendly innovation even more precious, such as the latest emerging trends in food-to-go and takeaway packaging using ‘Bagasse’ as a highly valuable and natural biodegradable renewable resource.
Being both biodegradable and compostable, Bagasse offers a great alternative to polystyrene containers and as such is seen and widely accepted as the most environmentally friendly material currently used in the food service industry.