what is biodegradable plastic made of

Release time:2023-09-18 Number of views: 22

Biodegradable plastic is a type of plastic that is designed to break down and decompose naturally over time. Unlike traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, biodegradable plastics are made from materials that can be broken down by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. In this article, we will explore what biodegradable plastics are made of and how they contribute to reducing plastic waste and environmental pollution.

Biodegradable plastics are typically made from renewable resources such as corn starch, sugarcane, or other plant-based materials. These materials are transformed into plastic using various processes, such as extrusion or injection molding. One common type of biodegradable plastic is called polylactic acid, or PLA. PLA is derived from corn or other starchy crops and undergoes a process called polymerization to form long chains of molecules, creating a plastic-like material.

Another material used in the production of biodegradable plastics is called polyhydroxyalkanoates, or PHA. PHA is produced by bacteria through fermentation processes using renewable resources such as vegetable oils or sugar. The resulting plastic can be used in various applications, including food packaging, disposable utensils, and agricultural films.

Apart from plant-based materials, biodegradable plastics can also be made from petroleum-based materials, such as oil and natural gas. However, these plastics are treated with special additives that accelerate their degradation process. The additives help break down the plastic into smaller pieces, making it easier for microorganisms to consume and decompose. Although petroleum-based biodegradable plastics are not as sustainable as those made from renewable resources, they still offer advantages over traditional plastics in terms of their reduced environmental impact.

One of the main benefits of biodegradable plastics is that they reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and pollutes the environment. Traditional plastics take hundreds of years to decompose, leading to long-lasting pollution and harm to wildlife. Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, break down much quicker, usually within a few months to several years, depending on the specific material and environmental conditions.

Additionally, biodegradable plastics have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional plastics. Since they are made from renewable resources, such as plant-based materials, they have a reduced impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, some biodegradable plastics can be composted, providing a valuable source of organic matter for soil enrichment.

However, it is important to note that the biodegradability of the plastic depends on the specific conditions it is exposed to. In ideal conditions, such as in composting facilities or industrial composters, biodegradable plastics can break down efficiently. However, if these plastics end up in regular landfills or are littered in the environment, they may not decompose as quickly or effectively. Therefore, proper waste management and disposal systems are crucial to ensure the full potential of biodegradable plastics in reducing pollution and waste.

In conclusion, biodegradable plastics are made from renewable resources, such as plant-based materials, and undergo various processes to create plastic-like materials. They offer several environmental advantages over traditional plastics, including reduced plastic waste and lower carbon footprint. However, proper waste management is essential to ensure their proper decomposition. By choosing biodegradable plastics and supporting sustainable practices, we can contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations.