Bioplastics - The arduous revolution of the plastic industry




In recent years, bioplastics are a prominent trend of the world plastic industry. Bio-plastic: a type of plastic made from environmental fuels, capable of biodegradation while still having the same tough and durable properties as virgin plastic and synthetic resin. But according to the latest news from BBC News, these bioplastic products are creating giant mountains of garbage on the Welsh coast.

History of bioplastics

Bioplastics have a history dating back to the early 20th century, invented by French scientist Maurice Lemoigne. It was also the explosive period of plastic application technology in the production of tools for life. During the time of the industrial revolution, manufacturers focused on products with the simplest and most effective processing, so the invention of bioplastics just drifted into the past. Along with the growing environmental protection movement in the 21st century, the demand for bioplastics is also increasing, with an annual growth rate of 20% from 2010 to 2015. Prohibition and restriction on the use of materials Plastic products in some countries such as Bangladesh, Gabon, Morocco along with the constantly fluctuating crude oil prices have contributed to promoting businesses to research this new green plastic market. So far, scientists have found more than a dozen types of materials for processing bioplastics. The most common ingredients include corn, starch, and leftovers.

In 2017, researchers from the University of York, UK invented plastic made from straw and until recently, the US company Biofase also made bioplastic from avocado skin. Compared with synthetic resins based on crude oil, these "green plastics" have environmentally friendly ingredients. The amount of carbon released into the air during their processing, use and decomposition is also significantly reduced compared with conventional plastics. By 2017, the world production of bioplastics exceeded 2 million MT per year.

Composition of bioplastics

bioplastic components

The key ingredient of bioplastics is Polylactide (also known as PLA), a lactic acid compound that can be found in vegetables and similar organics. The properties of PLA are very similar to PET (conventional petroleum-based plastic) because both have polymer chains. Therefore, PLA plastic still has the same toughness and malleability as ordinary plastic. Currently, bioplastics are divided into three categories: Bio-based Biodegradable bioplastics: These are made from renewable resources, mainly plants, and will decompose naturally under normal environmental conditions. Usually, items from biodegradable bioplastics are used to make food wraps, water bottles, disposable food cans.

Bio-based Biodegradable bioplastics are widely used in the production of cups and food bags. Bio-based and non-biodegradable bioplastics specially designed to extend shelf life, such as fibers or bio-shells. Using non-biodegradable bioplastics helps to save oil resources while ensuring long-lasting plastic products, but at the same time, it is a waste problem for the environment. Petrochemical-based biodegradable bioplastics: Biodegradable chemical plastics are synthesized from microorganisms on land, rocks and sea. Until now, the main scope of application of this plastic has been within the medical industry, for the production of sterile protective equipment.

The reality is that not all bioplastics are biodegradable, and not all biodegradable plastics can spontaneously disintegrate in the ocean environment. According to warnings from scientists, bioplastics like conventional plastics mostly end up in landfills floating in the ocean. The cold environment of the sea surface makes it impossible for bioplastics to biodegrade as in a dry, hot terrestrial environment. These plastic products also become like ordinary bottles, drifting in the sea for centuries, causing harm to the ecological environment.

Although it is made from natural materials, creating bioplastics also means cutting down and harvesting plants in large quantities to fuel the plastic. In the long run, this industry will also cause a certain degree of destruction to the environment. By June 2019, the San Francisco government will officially enforce the law banning all types of plastic straws, including straws made from bioplastic. According to the explanation from the state government, in terms of recycling and waste generation, bioplastic is no different from conventional plastic. In other words, bioplastics are just an "environmentally friendly" colored version of plastic when in fact they are no different. The city council of Wales, England also passed a law to stop the production of bioplastics. But according to them, the reason behind the law is that manufacturers cannot meet the cost of recycling bioplastic tools. The bioplastic bottles in landfills could have been established for a new life, but manufacturers will most likely suffer losses because the new finished product will be much less durable to environmental conditions. According to the latest investigation, bioplastics are mainly produced in small and medium-sized stores, as a way of marketing brands to consumers. It was not until 2018 that the movement to use bioplastics was followed by large corporations such as Walmart and Sony. According to the New York Times, it is this movement that will help popularize and reduce the cost of this much more expensive plastic.

Introducing European Plastics Joint Stock Company (EuP)

EuroPlas bioplastic

Proud to be one of the largest manufacturers of plastic filler masterbatch in the world, Europlas products are being trusted in more than 70 countries. With the increasing trend of using bioplastics, EuP has launched the BiOMates plastic filler label, based on bioplastic bioplastics, to meet the needs of this growing market. Contact us for more details: ✔

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