what is compostable plastic made from

Release time:2023-09-19 Number of views: 60

Compostable plastic is an alternative to traditional plastic that is designed to break down and decompose in a compost environment. It is made from various materials that are derived from natural resources. In this article, we will explore the different components used in the production of compostable plastic and discuss the benefits and challenges associated with its use.

One of the main materials used in the production of compostable plastic is polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane. These raw materials are converted into lactic acid through a process called fermentation. The lactic acid is then polymerized to create PLA pellets, which are used to manufacture compostable plastic products.

Another commonly used material in compostable plastic is polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). PHA is produced by certain types of bacteria through a process called bacterial fermentation. These bacteria feed on organic waste, such as agricultural byproducts or food waste, and convert it into PHA. The PHA is then extracted and transformed into compostable plastic products.

In addition to PLA and PHA, compostable plastic can also be made from other bio-based polymers. For example, polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) is a bio-based polymer derived from renewable resources. It is often combined with other materials such as PLA or PHA to enhance the properties of compostable plastic, such as flexibility and durability.

The production of compostable plastic offers several environmental benefits compared to traditional plastics. Firstly, since compostable plastic is made from renewable resources, it reduces our reliance on fossil fuels, which are used in the production of conventional plastics. Secondly, compostable plastic has a lower carbon footprint as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions during manufacturing. Lastly, when compostable plastic breaks down, it releases organic matter that can be used as nutrient-rich compost for plants, contributing to a more sustainable cycle.

However, there are challenges associated with the use of compostable plastic. Firstly, compostable plastic requires specific conditions to break down, such as the correct temperature, moisture, and oxygen levels. If compostable plastic ends up in a landfill, where these conditions are not present, it may take a long time to decompose or may not decompose at all. Therefore, it is crucial to dispose of compostable plastic in a proper composting facility or under controlled composting conditions.

Another challenge is the cost of production. Currently, compostable plastic is more expensive to produce than traditional plastics due to the additional steps and resources required for its manufacture. However, as technology advances and economies of scale are achieved, it is expected that the cost of compostable plastic will decrease, making it more accessible and affordable for consumers and businesses.

In conclusion, compostable plastic is made from various materials derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, tapioca roots, or sugarcane. It offers environmental benefits compared to traditional plastics, including reduced reliance on fossil fuels and lower carbon emissions. However, proper disposal and composting conditions are essential for compostable plastic to break down effectively. The cost of production is currently higher, but it is expected to decrease in the future. By choosing compostable plastic, we can contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

Next chapter: