Improving lives through
sustainable bioinnovations

Eco-friendly Packaging Products from Cassava Waste and other Biowastes in East Africa

Eco-friendly Packaging Products from Cassava Waste and other Biowastes in East Africa

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The big idea

This project will use cassava biowaste (peels) and other biowastes to produce eco-friendly packaging products for the East African market, providing a solution to the problem of non-biodegradable plastic bags.  Other biomaterials to be used include vegetable oils and natural resins, and fibres extracted from sugarcane bagasse, wheat, rice, and maize stover. The use of cassava has superior advantages of not only providing bio-degradable materials that conserve the environment but also containing lignocellulosic materials laden with chemical compounds with potential action against pests (grain weevils) for stored agricultural produce.

 Why it matters

Plastic bags are not only detrimental to the environment but also pose challenges in their handling when mixed with other municipal wastes. Consequently, most of the East African Community (EAC) governments e.g., Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, have banned the use of plastic bags of a certain gage for consumer packaging. However, implementing the ban is compromised due to limited or lack of affordable alternative bio-degradable packaging materials in the market.  Packaging materials from cassava biowaste will provide more eco-friendly alternative products. It is further envisaged that the production of bio-degradable packaging materials could boost local cassava production capacity and create more jobs.

A new solution

The project will develop grocery bags, food packaging, and grain storage biobased packaging materials. The technology relies on conventional polymer processing, where starch from cassava waste will be converted into bioplastic extrusion, injection and compression molding, and solution casting. It will involve establishment of blending and proportion integration of the various waste materials with the final product constituting at least 70% of the cassava biowaste as a base material. The products shall be able to biodegrade between 3 to 6 months, hence providing the best alternative to polythene-based plastics.


If successful the innovative alternative biodegradable packaging products, will improve the management of cassava waste and other bio-wastes. Cassava value chain actors like farmers will benefit from market access and businesses and consumers will be able to comply with the ban on plastic bags by using biodegradable alternatives acceptable to the regulators.  New green jobs are likely to emerge within the production value chain.

Environmental sustainability

The production and use of biodegradable packaging materials from cassava waste will contribute to reducing volumes of waste received in landfills thereby reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Landfills have been shown by researchers to be important sources of greenhouse gases (Zhang et al, 2019). In addition, the biobased cassava packaging materials substitute the use of wood-based packaging materials hence reducing the pressure on forests and in that way, it contributes towards climate change mitigation efforts.

Project Partners


Project Leader

Dr Juliet Kyayesimira – Kyambogo University