A biodegradable material that is used to reduce the waste of plastic that is currently suffocating our environment also comes from a renewable resource is called bioplastic. The use of bioplastics is promoted as an alternative which includes the increase in obtaining natural polymers from cellulose, agriculture, or potato and corn starch waste.
Biopolymers are already used throughout Europe and the United States because they are 100% degradable, versatile, resistant, and are already being used in fields of agriculture, textile industry, pharmaceutical and are also utilized worldwide for the container and packaging market. Bioplastics are becoming popular for ecological reasons: they are known as PHAs. This product is expected to meet the needs of 10% of the European plastics market within 10 years by plastic manufacturers.
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Properties of Bioplastic:
Products of bioplastics have the same properties, looks, and qualities as the ones made of clear plastic material. The increase in the usage of bioplastics has set a trend. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages. But first, we need to clear up some confusion about the term bioplastic. This applies to a vast variety of materials. According to European Bioplastics, bioplastics are defined as bioplastics on the basis of the properties of being biodegradable, biobased, and characteristic of both of them. This article focuses on bioplastics that are both biobased and biodegradable. And that is basically compostable bioplastics which are completely and entirely made of renewable resources.
There are pros to everything, but the best thing is when they exceed the cons of the topic discussed. We have compiled a few of the pros that will provide you with the knowledge that is best for your experiences and lifestyle choices as well.
- Raw Materials of bioplastics:
Plant raw materials are better than oil and other finite resources as it is sustainable and renewable. Bioplastics are made of raw materials of the plants, and this is a good thing for the environment and lifestyle choice since it does not require any drilling and fracking for the extraction procedure.
- Reduces the level of toxics:
According to a study conducted by The National Center for Biotechnology Information in the US; Plastics leach chemicals such as estrogen into food. There are also several studies that show that plastics can leak toxic chemical additives into the environment and landfills. So, this ensures that the bioplastic is maximum hazardous free since it doesn’t leach in the ground.
Bioplastics can be recycled, can be consumed cleanly, and can be composted industrially. Bioplastics provide a zero-waste end-of-life technology to life. Bioplastics are thought to be the best for food packaging, making it a perfect choice for plastic bottle manufacturers as it does not need cleaning because they are compostable and incinerable as well.
- The market of bioplastics:
There is a better market for bioplastics because their use can add the value of a product through a green marketing campaign in the industry of almost every type. According to researched-based studies, almost 80% of the residents of Europe are aware of their surroundings and want to buy the stuff that has minimal effect on the environment and that is the basic argument of using bioplastics in their life.
- Plastic litter reduction:
Less plastic litter is needed. In the UK, it was found that 90% of the litter on beaches was plastic. We use bioplastics to not become one of that 90% but if we use the alternatives it causes our motive to negate all together.
With every advantage comes a disadvantage or a drawback. Ideality doesn’t exist and the same is the case with bioplastic. A compilation of the list of drawbacks we face of using bioplastics are listed:
- Organic wastage:
Bioplastics will not biodegrade in landfills. Landfills are not designed to break into anything. They are a last resort storage method. No organic waste breaks down well (if at all) in landfills. The bottom line is that we should not send any organic waste to landfills and create a circular system that includes compost and ideally does not require any landfill.
- Litter ratio:
Bioplastics encourage people to litter more and more. We hope not and will not encourage littering with our products. Garbage is a human behavior that requires education, raising awareness, and undermining a good infrastructure.
- Fertility rate:
The bioplastic crops that are used for the fertility of the land have a great amount of dependency on the weather conditions, fertility of the land, water, and other fertilizers. This indicates that the raw materials used for the bioplastics may be at the risk of natural calamities or events which may include droughts etc.
- Damage to food quality:
There is concern that bioplastics based on terrestrial crops could damage the food supply. A large chunk of land that was previously used to grow crops and food is now used for the industrial processes of plastics. The estimate of that land is about 300,000 hectares. It also refers to the point of food waste materials used for such processes.
- Cost enhancement:
There is no cost effect related to bioplastics if we compare it with oil-based alternatives. They are typically two or three times more expensive than the major conventional plastics such as PE or PET, and their production suffers from low yields and is costly.
Nowadays, there are plenty of options for plastic design and manufacturing companies that provide bioplastic production as bioplastics are still a better solution for green plastic products. By switching to bioplastics, not only do we become more eco-friendly, but we also contribute to reducing the global carbon footprints.