• Why in News- A U.K.­based startup, based at Imperial College in London, claims to have developed a technology that could alter the state of plastics and make them biodegradable. 

What is biotransformation technology? 

  • Biotransformation technology is a novel approach to ensure plastics that escape refuse streams are processed efficiently and broken down. 
  • The tech was co­ developed by the Imperial College in London, U.K., and a Britain­based startup, Polymateria.
  • Plastics made using this technology are given a pre­programmed time during which the manufactured material looks and feels like conventional plastics without compromising on quality. 
  • Once the product expires and is exposed to the external environment, it self ­destructs and bio transforms into bioavailable wax. 
  • This wax is then consumed by microorganisms, converting waste into 

water, CO2, and biomass. 

Why do we need it? 

  • Last year in New Delhi, India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said that the country is generating 3.5 billion kgs of plastic waste annually and that the per capita plastic waste generation has doubled in the past five years. 
  • Of this, a third comes from packaging waste. 
  • In 2019, plastic packaging waste from e­ commerce firms was estimated at over a billion kilograms worldwide, according to Statista.

Where can this technology be used? 

  • Food packaging and health care industries are the two prime sectors that could use this technology to reduce waste. 
  • Within healthcare and pharma industries, this technology provides biodegradable solutions for non­woven hygiene products like diapers, sanitary napkins, facial pads, etc. 

Are we heading in the right direction? 

  • The Indian government has launched multiple initiatives to move the country towards sustainability. 
  • They have introduced a plastic waste management gazette to help tackle the ever ­growing plastic pollution caused by single ­use plastics. 
  • Additionally, last year, the government imposed a ban on single ­use plastics to bring a stop to its use in the country. 
  • The National Dashboard on Elimination of Single Use Plastic and Plastic Waste Management brings all stakeholders together to track the progress made in eliminating single ­use plastic and effectively managing such waste.

An Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) portal helps in improving accountability traceability, and facilitating ease of compliance reporting in relation to EPR obligations of the producers, importers and brand­owners. India has also developed a mobile app to report single use plastics grievances to check sale, usage or manufacturing of single use plastics in their area.