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What are some common applications for bioplastic?

A flood of plastic waste appears to be engulfing the entire earth. One of the biggest environmental concerns of the century is the buildup of plastic waste. Piles of plastic bags and other plastic waste dumps are a common sight everywhere, from landfills to the oceans.

For solving the issue of waste management, the creation of bioplastics and biodegradable plastics from renewable resources has been considered crucial. The market for these organic plastics is continually expanding, despite the fact that high price has been a barrier to expansion.


  • The following have been identified as the major driving forces for the growth of the bioplastics industry:

  • Government initiatives for environmentally friendly products and sustainable development

  • environmental issues such as pollution and climate change

  • consumers' preference for green items and education

  • Numerous uses and applicability for the business sector

  • Acceptance by the plastics sector

  • The costs of fossil fuels are growing.

Let us begin by understanding more about bioplastics and their key commercial uses.

What are bioplastics?

As the name implies, bioplastics are made from biological or biodegradable components, such as corn starch, food scraps, or even agricultural byproducts. Biobased plastics are simple to break down in a natural environment, as opposed to their plastic cousins made from fossil fuels and petrochemical polymers. This entails lessened adverse environmental effects as well as global sustainability.

Bioplastics vs Biodegradable Plastics

So are the terms "bioplastics," "biodegradable," and "compostable plastics" merely interchangeable terms?


Biodegradable plastics are petroleum-based but mixed with additives to make them more easily decomposable, as opposed to bioplastics, which are formed of organic elements. Although they both sound equally environmentally friendly, there are serious questions about how biodegradable plastics actually degrade.

Despite additives, biodegradable polymers require the right temperature, light, moisture, and oxygen conditions to break down. In their absence, biodegradable polymers can assemble similarly to conventional plastics. Because of this, biodegradable plastics must be delivered to commercial composting facilities instead of being composted at home. The conditions needed for plastics to biodegrade are provided by these composting facilities.

However, because they are entirely organic in origin, bioplastics are simple to decompose at the end of their useful life cycle. In terms of tackling ecological problems, it gives bioplastics an advantage over biodegradable types.

Types of Bioplastics

  1. The main biobased polymers utilised in different commercial industries are listed below:

  2. The most popular kind of bioplastics are those made from starch. They can be blended with biodegradable polyester to create versions like polycaprolactone or polylactic acid (PLA) that are very effective. These mixtures are remarkably water-resistant. Composting bags are made from starch-based films. Food packaging materials such films, cups, containers, bioplastic bottles, etc. are made using polylactic acid, or PLAs.

  3. Protein-based bioplastics: The fabrication of various electronic equipment and the automotive sector both use biobased polymers made from raw materials such proteins like soy and wheat gluten.

  4. Bioplastics made of cellulose: Adding cellulose to starch enhances its strength, water resistance, and other qualities. They are therefore excellent choices for premium packaging materials.

  5. Aliphatic polyesters: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), Polyhydroxyhexanoate (PHH), Poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), and Polyhydroxyvalerate are examples of commonly used bio forms of aliphatic polyester (PHV).

  6. Lipid-based bioplastics: Some kinds of bioplastics are prepared using fats and oils sourced from both plant and animal sources.

How are Bioplastics made?

The creation of bioplastic is a straightforward technique that is suitable for DIY projects at home. A sheet or mould of bioplastics can be made using basic raw materials as starches, gelatins, agar, vinegar, etc.

Here is a straightforward method for making bioplastics from agar powder. 3g of glycerol, 12g of gelatin or agar, and 60ml of hot water should be combined. On a stove, warm the ingredients over medium heat. If desired, include food colouring.

Heat the mixture continuously until it foams and the thermometer reads 95 degrees celsius. After removing the pan from the heat, skim off the foam. Pour the contents onto a flat surface that is coated with foil or even your preferred mould.

For a few days, let the plastic cool and harden.

Voila! You can now use your homemade bioplastic.

The Top 5 Commercial Uses of Bioplastics

The business sectors have approved a variety of bioplastics' final uses. Although bags and packaging make up a sizable portion of the bioplastic business, their use in other sectors has been expanding as well.

The top 5 commercial uses for biodegradable plastics are listed below.

1. Packaging and Bags

Bioplastic resources are used in the production of various plastic packaging products. Some of these include disposable cutlery and tableware, bioplastic packaging, bioplastic bags, bottles, and biodegradable compost bags.

The quality of the bioplastic materials utilised in the food packaging business is good. The food inside can keep its freshness while remaining free of harmful toxins. Mechanical properties can also be regulated and altered to meet industry standards.

The use of these organic polymers in biodegradable shopping bags is another significant application. Plastics are easily biodegradable when exposed to air, light, or water because of the additives employed in their manufacture.

Starches, coupled with polyethene and heavy metals, can be used to make biodegradable bags, or starches can be combined with biodegradable polymers like Polylactic Acid, or PLA.

The oxo-biodegradable plastic bag kind, which makes use of specific additive classes that break down the polymers more quickly, is another type that is gaining popularity.

The production of biodegradable or bioplastic-based bags for use in waste collection, composition, and shopping is now being done by a number of product producers.

These compostable plastics' polymers, which are entirely organic in origin, eventually degrade to release carbon dioxide, water, and organic matter into the environment. As a result, the environmental effects are minimal when compared to those of ordinary plastics.

2. Houseware and Kitchenware

Markets for disposable kitchenware and household items made of conventional plastic are slowly being replaced by those produced of biodegradable plastics from renewable resources. things like shelves, hangers, plastic toys, biodegradable cups, biodegradable plastic bottles, storage utensils, etc.

Additionally, biodegradable plastic products like biobased cutlery and dinnerware have become more popular in the culinary and hospitality industries. They have many advantages, especially when compared to traditional polymers.

3. Medical Equipment

A significant portion of the biodegradable plastic market is occupied by the medical sector. Due to their great characteristics, bioplastics are used in numerous medical treatments.

Sutures used in heart surgery and other comparable procedures are constructed of non-toxic biodegradable plastics (from renewable resources). The sutures are simple to sterilise, provide the necessary tensile strength, and disintegrate quickly in the body.

The industry also makes extensive use of other biodegradable medical devices such dissolvable medical screws, orthopaedic pins, dental implants, skin staplers, etc.

For site-specific medication delivery, biodegradable polymers like PolyActive and OctoDEX have been employed. These polymers' controlled release of proteins for local administration is made possible by their linear release and biodegradation characteristics.

The use of biodegradable and bioplastic materials has so revolutionised medical and pharmaceutical technology.

4. Electronics

A sizeable portion of the market for plastics is made up of consumer electronic goods. Circuit boards, cases, tablets, and other products are all made of plastic.

Consumer electronics, a major source of plastic waste, have recently started using bioplastics.

Today, bioplastics and biodegradable plastics are used to manufacture electronic products such as touch screen computer cases, keyboards, earphones, mobile phone cases, loudspeaker cases, laptop cases, game console cases, mouse cases, vacuum cleaner cases, etc.

Most optimised PLA compounds are used in the consumer electronics sector. Blends of PLA provide extra qualities such water resistance, stability, high gloss surface, and impact resistance.

5. Automobile industry

There have been several significant changes in the modern automotive business. Numerous actions have been taken to lessen the overall carbon footprint. Moving to more fuel-efficient cars and switching to cleaner fuel sources have made a positive impact on efforts to conserve the environment.

The automotive industry has always been a significant user of plastic materials. However, there are legitimate worries about recycling and the amount of plastic trash coming from this industry.

This is possibly the driving force behind the auto industry's switch to bioplastics. Today, a number of top automakers use bioplastics such polyester and polyamides. These bioplastics work well in addition to being greatly beneficial to the environment.

These materials' exceptional characteristics and biodegradability have caught the attention of manufacturers. Dashboards, interior and external elements, headliners, sun visors, floor mats, seat cushion covers, etc. are examples of automobile parts.

Toyota and other well-known brands have been pioneers in the use of bioplastics for various vehicle parts.

According to a number of projections, the worldwide bioplastic markets would generate over $96,627 million by the end of 2025. Bioplastics are currently chosen by numerous industries, challenging the dominance of plastics in various commercial applications.

Despite being new and still growing, the bioplastics sector has great promise. Even though just 1% of all plastics manufactured globally are currently made from bioplastics, the market has been steadily expanding. Every year, there are more and more interested producers and end consumers.

Additionally, the graphs for demand for bioplastic have increased as a result of rising consumer awareness of and demand for sustainable products. Consumers are increasingly accepting of sustainable products like bioplastics as they become more aware of ecological challenges like pollution, climate change, etc.

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