Bioplastic, an alternative and sustainable choice to plastic
The bioplastic is a type of plastic derived from renewable vegetable raw materials.
Bioplastics currently on the market are mainly composed of flour or starch from corn, wheat or other cereals.
One of the benefits of this kind of products is that some, but not all, are designed to biodegrade.
Biodegradable bioplastics can break down in either anaerobic or aerobic environments, depending on how they are manufactured.
The traditional plastic objects are reabsorbed by nature after long periods of time (a plastic bottle needs 400 years to decompose), to this is added the environmental impact social cost of treatment of plastic waste.
The decomposition time of bioplastic instead, require from a few months to 4-5 years and it dissolves without residue pollutants, according to the chemical composition.
Some common applications of bioplastics are packaging materials, dining utensils, food packaging, and insulation but one more interesting and practical use is compostable mulch films for agriculture. This kind of film doesn’t have to be collected after use and can be left on the fields, giving rise to compost rich in nutrients and organic substance that can be used as fertilizer for agriculture.
Even the hygiene of the food stored in containers of bioplastic is superior to that achieved with the existing containers that, for example, in the case of PET and of the cans (especially when exposed to heat sources) could yield harmful substances to liquids that they contain.
However, manufacturing of bioplastic materials is often still reliant upon petroleum as an energy and materials source. This comes in the form of energy required to power farm machinery and irrigate growing crops, to produce fertilizers and pesticides, to transport crops and crop products to processing plants, to process raw materials, and ultimately to produce the bioplastic.
Despite this, bioplastics are a fascinating horizon for a sustainable-oriented innovation.
Perhaps, one of the most interesting experiences is that of the italian company Novamont that is now one of the world leaders in the production of plastics of plant origin, in particular thanks to the patent Mater-bi.
Graphic: Product range of Novamont.
Chiara Ferrari Melillio „Vistplast - vænlegri og sjálfbærari leið til plastframleiðslu“, Náttúran.is: June 28, 2013 URL: http://natturan.is/d/2013/06/28/vistplast-vaenlegri-og-sjalfbaerari-leid-til-plast/ [Skoðað:June 7, 2020]Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.