The plastic which we generally use are petroleum-based products and the Plastic-pollution is attainging alarming stages. Bio-based alternatives to the plastic have crept up into the scene.
When we use the terms "biopolymer" or "bioplastic," are we talking about a plastic material that is biobased, i.e. based on renewable materials so that the waste rarely makes it back into the soil.
Corn-based bioplastics are being used for making water bottles and disposable cutlery as efficient alternatives.
Bioplastics came into existence some 15 years ago.It created a quite a stir in the environmental community.
Bioplastics have different categories e.g. compostable, biodegradable and degradable plastics. The compostable plastics must meet at least three essential requirements:
•They should biodegrade at a rate comparable to food scraps and other compostable materials;
•They should disintegrate, so that no large plastic fragments remain to be screened
•They should disintegrate and biodegrade safely so that the compost is able to support plant growth.
Biodegradable and degradable plastics are different from compostable plastics, as they have different technical specifications.
Biodegradable Plastic degrades by natural microorganisms (bacteria, fungi etc.). There is no specification about leaving "toxic residue," and no requirement for the time span it needs to biodegrade.
Degradable Plastic will undergo a significant change at the chemical level under specific environmental conditions resulting in a loss of some properties.The plastic does'nt have to degrade by "naturally occurring microorganism" nor toxicity, time span, or complete disintegration are specified.
It should be noted that there have been various studies conducted on both degradation and biodegradation in varying environments, such as soil and marine testing. However, standardization results have not yet been set, making it difficult to critique their viability as environmentally sound product ideas
The replacement of traditional plastic products with bioplastics will reduce manufacturing energy requirements and help reduce waste, improve air quality, conserve petroleum supplies, and reduce cleanup costs but things are still in the research and testing stage and the final products are yet to come and the test of their feasibility is awaited.