Is CMC biodegradable? (7 applications of CMC) 

The article will unveil if CMC is biodegradable or not. Other covered details will include:

  • Is it made from natural material?
  • What are disposal options?
  • Is it eco-friendly?
  • Is it toxic?
  • Is it safe for animals?

Is CMC biodegradable?

CMC expands to carboxymethyl cellulose. CMC is a derivative of cellulose and therefore, biodegradable in nature. As per studies, CMC does depict the traits of its parent material and shows gradual degradation. 

This makes CMC a good option for various applications such as use as food, feed, additives, thickening agents, and absorbents. It also has been asserted that CMC is safe for animals and renders no toxic effects on the health of animals. 

The article will also discuss disposal options for CMC that will include solubility in water, recycling, reuse, and disposal in trash cans. 

Is CMC natural or synthetic?

At first glance, the term CMC may sound synthetic but it is not. CMC expands to carboxymethyl cellulose. It would not be wrong to call CMC a cellulose derivative. 

It is a known fact that pure cellulose sponge is plant-based and has the right nutritional content which can be degraded by the action of microbes. 

That is why it is said that do not judge a book by its cover. CMC is natural because it is derived from nature and does not depend on non-natural sources such as fossil fuels or petrochemicals. 

Is CMC eco-friendly?

One of the proceeding questions regarding the naturality of CMC is whether CMC is eco-friendly or not. As per a bundle of studies, there should not be any reluctance in calling CMC eco-friendly. 

The primary reason is that CMC is made from natural material and this gives it an edge over its non-natural counterparts (like plastics) that are both non-natural and depend on non-renewable sources. 

It is usually perceived that natural materials such as natural fibres are eco-friendly and sustainable and will not take a toll on the environment. While this may be true, it is not a necessary perception all the time. 

Therefore, let us assess how sustainable CMC can be. This can be segregated into brackets such as manufacture, processing, and disposal. 

When it comes to manufacturing, it can be said that a huge amount of water is used to make cellulose. Therefore, the production of CMC does rely on substantial amounts of water resources. 

Further, it is necessary to ensure that there are no fertilisers or other chemicals used to make cellulose fibres because otherwise, there will be negative and degradative consequences on the environment and the soil. 

The usability of CMC also varies based on the consumers. It is important to make sure that the cellulose fibres are dealt with care and necessary precautions so that there is no excessive burden on the resources. 

Lastly, disposal also matters a lot. Since natural cellulose can be degraded by microbes or even composted, it is wise to say that disposing of natural cellulose in regular trash cans would not be a sustainable option. 

However, despite these hiccups, CMC is eco-friendly because it is derived from nature and is biodegradable. As per research, scientists have also tried to make sustainable packaging from CMC. This also adds to the eco-friendliness of CMC material. 

Does CMC depict the properties of its parent material? (7 applications) 

It has been established that CMC is not cellulose but a derivative of cellulose and therefore, it is essential to ask that it depicts the qualities of its parent material (cellulose).

When it comes to that, there is some green signal here because CMC does depict the qualities of its parent material. 

This can be validated by the fact that CMC does show gradual degradation in natural settings by the action of microbes making it biodegradable and one step closer to the title of eco-friendly. 

Further, it is claimed that the uses and applicabilities of CMC diverge a lot. The applications of CMC include

  • Food
  • Feed
  • Additives
  • Absorbent 
  • Thickening agents 
  • Binding agents 
  • Sustainable packaging 

What is meant here is that CMC may be used for these diverse applications and the need or dependency on non-biodegradable materials such as plastics or nylon is not really required. 

What are the disposal options for CMC material?

Recycling/Reusing

Another efficient way to dispose of CMC  products is to have them recycled. This will make the products new with very little consumption of energy and resources. 

This will also reduce the amount of cellulose waste produced because when cellulose is recycled, there will be no waste production. This can be done by 

  • Disposing of in recycling bins
  • Transporting the cellulose to recycling facilities
  • Having the nearby recycling centres pick up your cellulose and other recyclable material via appointment 

Trash cans

Some products or materials made from CMC may be discarded in regular trash cans. While this may be possible, it is not a preferred option because when products or materials are discarded in trash cans, they end up in landfills. 

This creates a waste problem as the waste production (as per the current situation) is already around 2 billion tons. It can increase to 3 billion tons and therefore, imminent actions and steps are required. 

Therefore, it is preferred that if possible, recycling must be preferred over disposal in trash cans as recycling is more befitting to the environment and also does not contribute to waste problems. 

Incineration

CMC may also be incinerated to get away with CMC waste. This again is not eco-friendly for two main reasons:

  • The incineration process is energy-intensive
  • The incineration process may result in or yield hazardous fumes into the atmosphere that may lead to environmental problems such as climate change, pollution, and global warming 

Is CMC safe for animals? 

One of the uses of CMC is as a food and therefore, a question that is often asked does CMC cause any harm to animals or in other words is it toxic.

When it comes to that, there is nothing to worry about. As per the Safety Data Sheet, there are no known hazardous effects of CMC on animals because of its natural source. 

Therefore, the use of CMC as feed, additive, and thickening agent causes no harm to life and there is blatant toxicity rendered that is needed to be vigilant about. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that CMC expands to carboxymethyl cellulose. CMC is a derivative of cellulose and therefore, biodegradable in nature. As per studies, CMC does depict the traits of its parent material and shows gradual degradation. 

This makes CMC a good option for various applications such as use as food, feed, additives, thickening agents, and absorbents. It also has been asserted that CMC is safe for animals and renders no toxic effects on the health of animals. 

The article also discussed disposal options for CMC that included solubility in water, recycling, reuse, and disposal in trash cans. Recycling was shown to be eco-friendly because it offered environmental benefits. 

References

  • Karimi, M., & Naimi-Jamal, M. R. (2019). Carboxymethyl cellulose as a green and biodegradable catalyst for the solvent-free synthesis of benzimidazoloquinazolinone derivatives. Journal of Saudi Chemical Society, 23(2), 182-187.
  • Yaradoddi, J. S., Banapurmath, N. R., Ganachari, S. V., Soudagar, M. E. M., Mubarak, N. M., Hallad, S., … & Fayaz, H. (2020). Biodegradable carboxymethyl cellulose-based material for sustainable packaging application. Scientific reports, 10(1), 1-13.

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