How is bagasse produced?
Bagasse is used for multiple purposes, but there is a specific method involved in the production of tree-free packaging products. After the sugarcane plant has been harvested and the liquid has been extracted, the leftover substance (bagasse) is kept wet and then blended with water to form a pulp.
Additives are combined with the pulp, and it is then pressed into the shape of the packaging product required by applying pressure at high temperature. The result is a sturdy, microwavable, compostable food packaging product made from plant-based, renewable resources.
Environmental advantages of bagasse
While many paper-based products can also be composted, the advantage of bagasse is that growing it does not have the same environmental impact as paper, which comes from trees.
According to a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Timber production has been identified as one of the four key contributors to deforestation. “Wood production has been shown to cause around 380,000 hectares of deforestation annually in key countries” (source).
“Why does deforestation matter? Forests—especially tropical forests—store enormous amounts of carbon. When forests are destroyed, that carbon is released to the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. Deforestation accounts for around 10% of total heat-trapping emissions—roughly the same as the yearly emissions from 600 million cars.” (source).
Trees take a long time to grow to maturity before they can be harvested (7-10 years), and to harvest them, acres of land are cleared, making it a resource-intensive process. Sugarcane, on the other hand, can be harvested annually, making it a rapidly renewable resource.