Describe How the Uses of Plant Fibres and Starch May Contribute to Sustainability

Topics: Flax, Cotton, Plant Pages: 2 (667 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Describe how the uses of plant fibres and starch may contribute to sustainability

How can plant fibres be used?
First of all the plant fibres have to be extracted from the plant itself. The process of extraction often used is called retting. Retting involves using water or micro-organisms to dissolve or rot away the cellular tissues surrounding the bast-fibre bundles. Afterwards the fibres are obtained; usually they extract very long sclerenchyma cells and xylem tissue because of their good tensile strength.

From this many materials can be made, here are a couple of examples: Wood fibres – can be used to make paper from trees
Sisal fibres – are obtained from Agave Sisalana and these fibres are used in the construction of cars, furniture, plastics and even paper.

Uses of starch and plant based products to replace oil-based products Canvas Bags – Canvas bags is a product sweeping the nation to help us rid the use of plastic oil-based plastic bags. Canvas bags are made from linen, which are fibres extracted for the flax plant, canvas bags also contain cotton, which is extracted from the cotton bag. The canvas bag is an ingenious product because not only can it replace the oil-based (petroleum) plastic bags but they are also reusable and also sustainable. Starch Bags – Starch bags are a relatively unknown product, not as popular as a replacement as a canvas bag. However the starch bag is obtained from the starch within many plants. If the bag is no longer needed and discarded, they will soon decompose into carbon dioxide, water and biomass within 10-12 weeks, thus leaving no harmful residue behind.

If you compare these to the oil-based products, they are a lot greener; this is because oil-based petroleum plastic bags give off a lot of air pollution and energy consumption to produce them. In addition to this if the plastic bags are discarded like many of them are (100 billion per year in USA), then they would not biodegrade (takes 1000 years) and...
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