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Biodegradable fossil-based polymers

Biodegradable polymers are not necessarily made from renewable resources in order to be completely biodegradable. Polymers such as polybutyrate adipate terephthalate (PBAT), polybutylene succinate (PBS), polycaprolactone (PCL) and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH, PVA) are biodegradable polymers as their structure contains chemical groups that can be easily broken down by the action of microorganisms.

Below is the list of biodegradable synthetic polymers, their properties, popular brands and their applications.

Name Properties Can substitute Applications
Polybutyrate adipate terephthalate (PBAT) PBAT is known for being flexible and tough which makes it ideal for combination with other biodegradable polymers that have high modulus and strength, but are very brittle. LDPE, HDPE Garbage bags

Wrapping films

Disposable plastic products (lunch boxes, dishes, cups, etc.,)

Polybutylene succinate (PBS) Good oxygen barrier Polypropylene Films, bags, or boxes, for both food and cosmetic packagings.
Polycaprolactone (PCL) Good water, oil, solvent and chlorine resistance Manufacture of speciality polyurethanes
Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH, PVA) Water-solubility Papermaking, textiles, and a variety of coatings


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