What if a plastic bag could decompose naturally in the environment? A normal plastic bag wouldn’t, but a biodegradable plastic bag certainly would. An environment-friendly option to your normal plastics, biodegradable plastics can help curtail the pollution created from plastic pollutants. This is because these ‘green plastics’ have the ability to naturally breakdown or decompose in the environment when disposed.
There are two basic classes of biodegradable plastics: a) Bio-plastics – which are derived from renewable raw materials and b) Plastics – which are made from petrochemicals containing biodegradable additives which promote biodegradation.
Generally two forms of biodegradable plastics are used - injection molded and solid. The solid forms are normally used to manufacture bags, food containers, water bottles etc.
How is Biodegradable Plastic Made?
These types of plastics are made from all-natural plant materials such as orange peels, starch, corn oil, plants etc. All the raw materials is melted and then poured into molds of various shapes of items which are to be manufactured such as utensils, plastic water bottles etc. As opposed to this, traditional plastic is composed of chemical fillers which are hazardous to environment when the disposed plastic product breaks down. Hence, unlike normal plastics, biodegradable plastics are non-toxic for our environment.
Let’s better understand the advantages of biodegradable plastics:
- The carbon footprint of their entire manufacturing process is around 75% less than that of PS and PET products.
- The manufacturing of these plastics results in minimal carbon emission – only around .8 tons of CO2, as opposed to the 4 tons of CO2 emitted during the production of normal plastics.
- Traditional plastics demand more energy and burning of huge quantities of fossil fuel which adds tremendously to environment pollution. Whereas, biodegradable plastics require considerably less amount of energy and zero fossil fuels for manufacturing.
- Plastics are known to leach estrogen-like chemicals into food. Since bioplastics are made of natural raw materials, they don’t leach any such harmful chemicals into food.
- They are naturally compostable and biodegradable since they are made from plant raw materials which are a renewable natural source unlike petroleum, a finite source used to make conventional plastics
- They offer a variety of green options at the end of their lifecycle. They can be cleanly composted industrially and incinerated. This makes them a great packing material for food items since the used packaging doesn’t separate cleaning process. It can be incinerated or composted together with food waste. Besides, the composting process releases biogas – a valuable source of energy which can be used as a green fuel.
- Since bioplastics are biodegradable, they don’t use up precious landfill space which can be used for either agriculture, industrial or residential purposes.
- They take less time to break down as compared to normal plastics.
- They can also be easily recycled.
Given their natural composition, our environment may benefit greatly from bio plastics and their products such as biodegradable garbage bags etc. Proper awareness and knowledge regarding these ‘green plastics’ can help us make a huge breakthrough in our battle against pressing environmental issues such as global warming.
Mohan Naik oversees the digital marketing for XL plastics, a leading name in the field of plastic converting machinery. On a mission to help entrepreneurs make a high quality choice that delivers value, Mohan efficiently turns even the most technical topics into interesting and engaging content that even a layman can comprehend. He writes to educate his audience and skillfully uses marketing to incite interest even in the most passive of readers. He stays updated with the latest trends and innovations in the industry and is quick to share that with his readers.