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Bioplastic: definition, advantages and disadvantages, types of bioplastics and applications. Objects in bioplastic, how bioplastic is made and analysis of the pros and cons.
Therebioplastic,according to definition conferred byEuropean Bioplastics, is a type ofplasticderived from renewable raw materials such as corn starch, wheat, milk or topical.
Who is on the hunt for onedefinitionmore technical, we can say that thebioplasticit's abio-based polymerderived from thebiomassor produced starting from organic-based monomers.
Therebioplasticstands in contrast toplastics derived from fossil resources.
Therebioplastic it has the ability to decompose within a few months, while traditional plastic takes millennia to degrade.
Sometimes the termbioplasticit can be misleading. Not allbioplasticsthey are necessarily environmentally friendly. There are somebioplasticswhich, in the environmental balance, did not show so many advantages over fuel-derived plastics. It all depends on the type of organic polymer used, its origin and the type of processing required.
On the shelves of supermarkets, the so-called ones have become widespreadBio Bottle, these are bottles inbiodegradable plastic.
The role of packaging inbioplasticfor the food sector it is of crucial importance, not only for respect for the environment but also for food safety.
Foods that come into contact with theplastic from fuel source, they end up being contaminated.
In particular, over time, drinks absorb harmful substances from the packaging materials. To understand the impact of this phenomenon, just think that for mineral waters contained in PET plastic bottles, the expiration date is not so much for the drink as for the plastic casing.
Food packaging but also water bottles, bags, smartphone covers, fabrics, shoe soles and everyday objects: belts, bottles, watches, pens, glasses, straws, disposable plates and cutlery.
Any object made with current synthetic plastics can be reproduced withbioplastics which are generally more respectful of the environment in terms of energy (during the production chain) and certainly more sustainable when it comes to disposal.
The sector of bioplasticsis booming. As stated, allobjectsthat can be produced with conventional plastic can then be reproduced withbioplastics. Innovative crosslinkable and expandable polymers have been developed that allow to obtain super-light objects with excellent physical-mechanical characteristics, these are organic polymers (bioplastic) that can be widely used for the production of sports shoes.
LOOK PHOTOS OF THE ACCESSORIES IN BIOPLASTIC
Not all bioplastics are 100% organic
The organic matter content of abioplasticit can vary in percentage terms. Sometimes a fossil fuel based product can be mixed with renewable raw materials.
To give an example, in thebioplasticApilon 52 Bio, produced by the company Italian Apinat, the content of renewable raw materials reaches 70 percent and offers the same characteristics and quality of traditional TPU derived exclusively from synthetic sources.
The production ofbioplastic, with the exclusive use of renewable raw materials, represents a contribution to climate protection, as greenhouse gas emissions, in particular CO2, are reduced compared to the use of raw materials from synthetic sources.
Types of bioplastics
As we saw in thedefinitioninitial, with the termbioplasticwe can identify an immense family ofbio-based polymers. It follows that we are dealing with a disparate number of organic materials. These materials, albeit derivedorganicthey are not always friends of the environment. In this paragraph we will list the various types of bioplastics. As this is a booming sector, no list can be considered complete!
- Starch based bio plastic
Starch-based bioplastic is so simple that it can even be made at home. Friend-based bioplastic is often blended with biodegradable polyesters for the production ofEcoflex, polycaprolactor and other biodegradable blends.
- Cellulose based bio plastic
It is produced with cellulose esters including cellulose acetate and nitrocellulose. It is also made with cellulose derivatives, including the class of celluloid compounds, considered the first thermoplastic materials.
- Protein-based bioplastic
Wheat gluten, casein and other protein sources can give life to plastic materials of renewable origin.
- Aliphatic polyesters
It is about compoundsbio aliphaticsuch as PHB (poly-3-hydroxybutyrate), PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates), PHV (polyhydroxyvalerate), PHH, PLA (polylactic acid) and polyamide 11 (PA11). In particular, polylactic acid (PLA) is very suitable for replacing PEt and is widely used for the production of objects such as glasses, bottles, fibers, containers ...
- Organic Polyethylene
Polyethylene can be produced starting from fossil fuels but also through the alcoholic fermentation of agricultural raw materials such as sugar cane or corn. The Brazilian chemical group Braskem claims to have developed a full-fledged plastic (polyethylene) starting from the bacterial fermentation of sugar cane which, among other things, would capture the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere.
- Genetically modified bio plastic
There is a genetically modified corn to be more suitable for the production of biodegradable plastic. We are talking about a very new field: none of thefirst generation bioplasticsrequires the use of GMO cultivation.
Bioplastics, pros and cons
The advantages related to the use ofbioplasticsthere are many but there is an environmental debate.
The factors to consider when it comes to manufacturingecological plastic, I'm:
- the use of water resources
- transport of biomasses
- energy consumption
- use of GMOs for second generation bioplastics
The debate is a lotcomplicatedand it is not possible to generalize: there are many types of bioplastics and they cannot be treated equally.
Last personal reflection:
let's not forget that oil is necessary to power agricultural machinery, to produce fertilizers and pesticides and for the production and transport of organic raw materials useful for the production of bioplastic!
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