Recycling Flower and Kitchen Waste to Make Biodegradable Paper
Tanaya Rahul Sheth1, Apurva Ashok Gokhe1, Pranav Nanda Kumar1, Kanchan Shridhar Chitnis1*
1 Department of Life Science, Ramnarain Ruia, Autonomous College, L.N. Road, Matunga East, Mumbai, India.
Paper is one of the most used stationery commodities in the world. To reduce the dependency on timber and forest wood to make paper, there is an urgent need to look for alternative sources. This study aimed to generate biodegradable paper from floral waste. This would help save the environment from deforestation and improper management of garland waste. Dried flowers, boiled potato peels, newspaper shreds, and boiled corn husks were used in the ratio 5:3:2:1, pulp was formed in the grinder. Residual starch water was used as a binding agent. This pulp was spread and dried on a special mesh mold under uniform, moderate pressure. The formed paper was removed carefully and was tested at MSME, Mumbai, India, (as per IS 2617, Millboard, Greyboard & Strawboard), (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Govt of India), for its GSM (gm/sq mt), thickness, pH, ash content and moisture content.
Statistical Analysis Used: Mean and SD
GSM of the paper was found to be 136.397 gm/sq.mt, with a thickness of 0.95mm. The pH of the paper was 6.17, ash content was 3.8% and moisture content was 5.8%. This paper has been categorized as Greyboard quality paper which is a homogenous board made of mixed waste paper with or without screenings and thickness not greater than 1mm. The produced paper was used to manufacture a paper bag. It can be used for pad backing, rigid boxes, cartons (not corrugated), toy packaging, and bookbinding.
Keywords: Floral waste, Packaging, Greyboard paper, Recycling
Paper is a basic stationery commodity that is used by everyone in the world. It is used to make carry bags, sachets, books, and much more. A large amount of the world’s commercially cut timber is used to produce paper. The life cycle of paper is damaging to the environment. It starts with a tree being cut down and ends by being burned thereby emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Most of the paper manufacturing processes involve using pulp made from timber. Other environmentally conscious techniques include producing recycled paper (Fahmy et al. 2017), producing paper from agricultural waste like banana fibers (Ekhuemelo, 2012; Arafat et al., 2018), cotton stalks, wheat, and rice residues, etc. (Fahmy et al., 2017). In a country like India, tons and tons of floral waste is produced in temples and other places every day (Bennett, 2017). It is now becoming imperative to contain the burden that this problem may pose. Statistically speaking, 800 crore kgs of flower waste is thrown into the Ganga river every day (Prasai, 2018).
The current project is aimed at generating biodegradable paper from floral waste. This would help save the environment from deforestation and improper management of garland waste. Additionally, the manufacturing of this paper does not include the use of bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide, which is used to lighten the overall color of the paper. Moreover, starch water has been used (Maurer, 2009), potato peels, and corn husks as a binding agent. This also helps to alleviate the problem of kitchen waste. Mohan et al. (2018) in their paper, have tried to tackle the problem of floral waste and at the same time produced a useful commodity that is 100% biodegradable. However, it does not provide information on the durability and characteristics of the paper. In the present study, a durability test on the paper produced has been done.
Materials and Methods
The paper primarily was made of marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis) obtained from a flower market. A variant of the paper also included the use of tuberoses (Polianthes tuberosa) along with the marigold flowers. Other materials used were waste corn husks obtained from corn sellers, rice water, and peels obtained from potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). An important tool for making the paper was the mold and deckle (Muraleedharan and Perumal, 2010). Miscellaneous materials, tools, and equipment required were newspapers, plastic trays, grinders, ladles, and vessels used for boiling.
Starch Extraction and Concentration
The potato peels were boiled in water for 90 minutes till the water became starchy, that is, the water gained the form of a thick broth. For the rice water, a similar procedure was followed and both solutions were brought to the same thick consistency.
However, a note was made that sometimes, the rice water had the same consistency as the water obtained from the potato peels post boiling. The rice water was not boiled in this case.
Creating the Paper Pulp
The flower petals were dried for 24 hours by wrapping them in newspaper and keeping them in an incubator at 37ºC. Next, as shown in Figure 1, the corn husks were cut into short pieces and boiled in water for about 45 minutes to one hour so that they became soft enough to tear easily. Using the dried flowers, boiled potato peels newspaper shreds, and boiled corn husks in the ratio 5:3:2:1, a pulp was formed in the grinder, as shown in Figure 2. To this, 100 ml of starch water concentrate was added. For every 110 grams of dry material, 100 ml of starch water was used.
Making the Paper
Using a sieve, the excess water from the pulp was removed. The mold, as shown in Figure 3, was placed in a plastic tray and a uniform layer of the pulp was made on the metal mesh of it. The frame was carefully flipped onto a thick newspaper base. Using another newspaper to cover the paper, gentle uniform pressure was applied all over the surface. This was kept for drying in a dry place under moderate uniform pressure. After the pulpy layer dried completely, it was peeled out carefully from the newspaper. This peeled-out dry pulpy layer was the paper, as shown in Figure 4a.
Figure 1. Mixture Of Corn Husk, Floral Petals, Newspaper Shreds, Starch Water, and Potato Peels
Figure 2. Pulp Obtained after Grinding