Since ordinary plastic is non-biodegradable, it gets very difficult to get rid of it. For the same reason, scientist have been working on various strategies to develop biodegradable and eco-friendly plastics.
Bio-plastics, biodegradable plastics and recyclable plastics are the three possible alternatives to common plastics that we can use to reduce the harmful impact of plastics to our environment.
The focus of this article is bio-plastics and after reading this article, you will be aware of the definition, methods of preparation, properties and uses of bio-plastics and will fully understand its effectiveness to deal with the menace of plastic pollution.
What are bio-plastics?
Bio-plastics are rapidly biodegradable plastics which means they are quickly degraded by the action of microorganisms and do not accumulate in the environment. Therefore, they are considered as the most favorite alternative to ordinary plastics.
How are they made?
These plastics are mostly prepared from organic waste produced in different industries like corn waste, bagasse etc. Some of them are also produced from chemical components extracted from different living organisms. However, in most cases, bio-plastics, either partially or completely, are made from plant-based products.
Where are their applications?
These plastics are used to manufacture automobile parts, food containers, shopping bags, utensils as well packaging materials. They can also be used for engineering applications, such as electronic housings and enclosures.
How are they eco-friendly?
Apart from their rapid biodegradability, their manufacturing process has very low carbon footprint which reduces the emission of greenhouse gases in the environment. In addition to that, since they are produced from organic wastes, their extensive use does not pose any real time threat to already depleting natural resources.
Some of them can also be used in the process of composting to produce biological fuel. Composting is a process in which organic waste is decomposed in the absence of air to produce fuel gases.
Besides all these positive features, some controversies are also associated with bio-plastics; for example it is claimed that these plastics are likely to produce methane: a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to global warming.
However, a part from minor controversies, bio-plastics are generally considered as the most feasible solution to the menace of plastic pollution.