Did you know that today we use approximately 20 times more plastic than 50 years ago? In fact, even though we all know that plastic impact significantly our planet, plastic is still one of the most popular materials in our era because it is affordable and very functional. Yet, because you are conscious of reducing your carbon footprints, you’ve been looking for an alternative. Why don’t you opt for bioplastic? Yes, you’ve read that right!
If you’ve never heard about the term “bioplastic” before, this material is one of the best alternatives to regular plastic if you want to be more eco-friendly. Sounds interesting? Want to learn more? Great! In this article, we look at this new product and tell you everything you need to know about it.
What is bioplastic?
Bioplastic replicates plastic, except that it is not made from petroleum, but rather from renewable organic materials such as potato starch, sugar cane, cotton or cellulose from trees. Because this material is made from natural polymers from plants, bioplastic is 100% degradable, but just as strong and versatile than regular plastic.
This innovative material is already used in many fields, including textile, agriculture and medicine industries.
What are the advantages of bioplastic?
1. Preserve Non-Renewable Products
While traditional plastics come from heating and processing petroleum molecules until they are transformed into polymers, bioplastic, on the other hand, is made from cellulose extracted from plants. This allows us to save petroleum resources.
2. Decrease in Carbon Footprints
A key benefit of using this new material is that it significantly decreases the carbon footprints during the manufacturing process. Since the sources of the material come from plants, the composting process also emits minimal carbon dioxide.
When bioplastic is produced, less energy is required. In addition, this eco-friendly material does not need fossil fuels to be recycled. As less energy is used, it reduced the negative effects on the environment considerably.
4. An Environmental Friendly Solution
Since bioplastic can be used in compost or can be recycled, this will ultimately decrease the amount of waste that we send to landfills for disposal. In addition, land can be used for industrial, agricultural and residential purposes instead of being turned into landfills.
Does it have any disadvantages?
Unfortunately, bioplastic is not completely perfect and does have some drawbacks as well, which includes:
1. Not 100% Safe
Bioplastic is made from plants that could have been cultivated with pesticides. Thus, there is consequently a potential danger of contamination because crops are usually sprayed with chemicals when they are on the field and can easily be carried over or incorporated into the final product.
2. Expensive Equipment Needed fro Recycling
One of the main drawbacks of bioplastic is that expensive industrial processor and composters made be needed to break down the material effectively. And besides the cost, these high-end equipment are not always available on the market, which may result in a problem.
3. Confusion With Regular Plastic
For bioplastic to be used for compost or recycled, it should not be mixed with regular plastic that is non-biodegradable. Yet, the confusion can easily happen as many people don’t know how to distinguish between the two materials.
4. The Need for more Crops
While bioplastic is made from renewable sources, there should still be an adequate production of these particular crops to provide the natural component. And, this might become a problem when it comes to producing these plants for food. With one out of five families in developed countries and many more in developing countries suffering from food shortages and hunger, the ethical question is whether it is fair to develop bioplastic further.
Knowing more on bioplastic will now allow you to decide on whether you are going to choose this alternative to plastic to save our planet. If you come across any specific products made of bioplastic that was useful, don’t forget to leave a comment below.