Bioplastics trends to watch


When, in the past, bioplastics were more or less equated with lackluster, tired-looking materials mainly derived from starch, few in the industry took their use very seriously. Poor processability combined with indifferent mechanical properties and uncertain availability meant that their main advantage was, if anything, biodegradabilty and applications were mainly confined to golf tees and flowerpots. All that has changed, however. As the industry matures, the range of materials qualifying as bioplastics has expanded dramatically. Bioplastics today can be derived from biomass - but also from petroleum. They may be suitable for home composting - or for industrial composting only. Some are biodegradable - but only under certain, specified conditions. Many bioplastics have been developed for durable applications; like their conventional counterparts, they are suitable for recycling - thermal and mechanical. Applications range from the automotive industry to teabags, and a great deal in between. Bioplastics, in short, make up a wide and varied group of materials, in which a lot is going on.
Read more