Bioplastics.Guide – Knowledge Zone
List of all the sections available in Bioplastics.Guide –
The polymers which are prepared in the laboratory are known as synthetic polymers or man-made polymers. A variety of synthetic polymers as plastic (polythene), synthetic fibres (nylon 6, 6) and synthetic rubbers (Buna – S) are examples of manmade polymers extensively used in daily life as well as in industry. Refer this section to know more about the classification of fossil-based polymers and their classification.
The term non-biodegradable describes polymers that do not break down to a natural, environmentally safe condition over time by biological processes. Most plastics are non-biodegradable mainly because plastic is widely used because of its low cost, versatility and durability. Refer this section to know more about the conventional polymers and the plastics causing pollution.
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. Refer this section to know more about their properties and applications.
These polymers are found in nature generally from plant and animal sources. These may be, for example, starch, cellulose, proteins or lignin that has a structural function for the plant or animal. Refer this section to know more about the origin and classification of bio-based polymers.
The term ‘bioplastics’ covers several groups of plastics – on the one hand are biobased plastics (made from renewable resources) and on the other hand biodegradable plastics.
Today the feedstock used to make bioplastics are predominantly from renewable food resources. However, the bioplastic industry is evolving in the use of non-food crops to produce bioplastics. Based on this, the feedstock used to make bioplastics are generally classified based on their generations – first, second and third.
Biodegradable plastics decomposes naturally in the environment. This is achieved when microorganisms in the environment metabolize and break down the structure of biodegradable plastic. The end result is one which is less harmful to the environment than traditional plastics.
Plastics are generally comprised of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, etc. If the source of carbon is completely/partly from petrochemicals, then the plastic is said to be non-biodegradable. There are 100% biobased plastics like PLA, PHA as well as partially biobased plastics.
Bioplastics are being used in number of segments today. Each biopolymer can cater to a variety of end segments based on the desired properties of the end product to be made from the polymer. Today, advancements in the compounding of the biopolymer resin has opened doors to enhance the properties of biopolymers. Refer this section for detailed information on end-use segments – mass production, innovations and future applications.
Most of the bioplastics are mainly designed to be biodegradable, and some are designed to be compostable. These properties are important for the functionality of the end product and for its disposal. When considering the environmental impact of disposing of a bioplastic product, it is very important to know about the end life options of the bioplastics. Refer this section for a whole range of end of life scenarios.
The $30.8 billion bioplastics market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent from 2015 to 2020, according to reports. Major drivers for this growth include growing environmental concerns and the packaging sectors moving towards biodegradable plastics. It is vital to understand the differences caused in the drivers and challenges by geographical locations. Refer this section for more details on the trends and market growth of bioplastics in various regions.
Biodegradability and Composability are the key distinguishing properties of bioplastics and so one must have knowledge on the standards and certifications for biodegradable products that truly biodegrade and have no detrimental impact on composting, agriculture or soil. Refer this section for detailed information on the global standards and certifications available for bioplastics.