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Bioplastics – What is in store for the future

Plastic has become an inseparable part of our daily lives. Imagining a life without plastic is nearly impossible. According to a recent survey, India is the world’s third largest plastic consumer, totalling about four million tons and around two million tons of waste. Isn’t it alarming? Though plastic is banned in many cities and fines imposed in other parts of the country, the use of plastic is yet to see a decline. Fortunately, today we have a sustainable alternative to conventional plastic, Bioplastic.

Innovation and technology

Bio-based plastic is biodegradable when exposed to bacteria, but not all bioplastics are always biodegradable. They are created from organic polymeric components derived from plants, bacteria, and animals. Bioplastic is not new to us; artificial plastic was invented in the mid-1800s when plastic was made from cellulose. Later in the 1930s, Henry Ford built plastic using soybeans and built a car with bioplastic accessories and a body in the year 1941. Today, the new generation of bioplastic called polylactide (PLA) and poly (butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT) are both biodegradable polymers that are slowly replacing conventional plastic. Bacteria are fed on carbon-based feedstock to create readily biodegradable polymers. Companies like Teraforrm are constantly innovating to develop biodegradable materials for safe and convenient use.

Future of bioplastic

It is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastic. It is biodegradable, compostable, and renewable, making it all the more suitable for commercial use. By embracing bioplastics, there are immediate benefits like low carbon footprints and less dependency on fossil fuel and biodegradable waste. The Columbia Climate School has revealed that bioplastic is less toxic and does not contain bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a hormone disrupter found in conventional plastics.

The slow yet steady adoption of bioplastics will pave the way for a safe planet. High patent activity is a good indicator of the future of bioplastics. New applications are rapidly developing to protect the earth from plastic landfills. Bioplastic is the only alternative to save our planet from destruction.