Important Pros And Cons Of Biodegradable Plastic

Plastic that can decompose naturally in the environment is known as biodegradable plastic. It is considered to be less harmful than the natural plastic materials as it decomposes easily and seldom affects the environment. These plastic materials are made of raw materials which are renewable. Biodegradable plastic can be categorized into two varieties which include solid and injection molded.

These plastics are made of natural plant materials such as plants, orange peels, starch and so forth. These plastics can be made easily by melting down of all natural materials. The liquid is then poured into different molds to form utensils, bottles and so forth.

There are various advantages of using this form of plastic. It is considered to be eco- friendly as it hardly contains carbon. It is free from all types of pollutants and therefore it decomposes easily and quickly. It is easily broken down in the soil with the help of naturally occurring bacteria. Although it is comparatively costlier than most of the other types of plastic materials, it is ingrained with many beneficial features which increase its popularity and usage. Moreover, it is an eco friendly product compared to its counterparts.

As compared to the synthetic plastic bags and items, this unique form of plastic is completely degradable. Synthetic plastic bags tend to clog the drains as it remains intact for many years together. Biodegradable materials decompose naturally and hardly release any chemicals during the process of decomposition. It is therefore safe for the environment.

Biodegradable Plastic

Non-decomposing plastic bags and materials pose a grave threat to the environment in many ways. It can cause death of aquatic creatures and harm the environment in a drastic manner.

Nevertheless, biodegradable plastic materials are not free from problems. It is essential to dispose these materials properly so that it decomposes quickly. It seldom breaks down when it is tossed along with other waste materials in the landfill. It is quite similar to compost and therefore it must be left to decompose accordingly.

Today it is easy to buy biodegradable plastic bags and other materials quite easily from online stores at affordable price rates.

Features And Consequences Of Biodegradable Plastic

One of the best ways to tackle the issue of plastic wastages is by the use of biodegradable plastic. Not all biodegradable plastics are made of bio- material or plants as it is believed. Some of these plastic materials are made of oil which is quite similar to conventional plastic materials. It is essential to understand that even biodegradable plastic materials such as bags and bottles require specific conditions for proper degradation. It requires the right temperature, micro organisms and humidity to decompose; otherwise it ends up in the landfills and produce harmful gases.

Plant Based Plastic Polymer:

The biodegradable plastic materials are used for various purposes such as food packaging, medical and agricultural uses. Today scientists use grasses for the production of bio-fuel. Now the same grass is used for the production of biodegradable plastic polymer. Scientists discovered a type of metabolic genes which allow bacteria to produce a polymer naturally known as the PHA. These genes can be used to convert plant to plastic quite easily in a cost effective manner. Plant based polymer can be used for the production of plastic shopping bags and these bags can be bought at economical price rates.

Biodegradable Plastic

Majority of the scientists and researchers have worked consistently on developing biodegradable plastic materials to reduce environmental pollution and its detrimental effects. However, the production methods could still prove to be dangerous to the environment in many ways. It is pertinent to know that these types of plastic materials have negative effects on the environment and human life when it is recycled. Moreover, when these plastics are decomposed, it produces methane gas which contributes to global warming.

However, biodegradable plastic can seldom be replaced with petroleum based plastics as it includes low yields and high costs during the process of production. It is essential to dispose biodegradable plastic in a proper manner. To make it effective, it is important to change the present waste management infrastructure so that it contributes positively to the environment by reducing and eliminating pollution completely. Scientists still debate over the beneficial features of both these types of plastic products and its uses.

How Biodegradable Plastics Can Be Beneficial To Environment

As the use of plastics is increasing day by day, biodegradable plastic is a good option which can replace use of plastics in long run. The term biodegradable is used for those products which can decompose in natural environments. There are various kinds of environments that can lead to biodegradation such as aerobic, anaerobic or through manual emergence and activation of micro organisms. These micro organisms can convert plastics into humus like consistency which is not harmful for the environment.

Components Of Biodegradable Plastics:

Biodegradable plastics are made by using various kinds of plastics. Biodegradable plastic consist of Plastics obtained from renewable raw materials. They can also be made from petroleum based plastics utilizing an additive. For letting the plastic expand, some special kinds of compounds are used and they are then exposed to heat and moisture, the plastic is then neutralized and metabolized.

biodegradable plastics

How Biodegradable Plastics Decomposed:

The production of biodegradable products involves injection molding which is done in the form of disposable food service items and films. It can be used for the packaging of agricultural mulch, leaves and grass trimmings, organic food etc. There are various kinds of biodegradation. Photo-degradable materials are decomposed first through exposure of sunlight and then by micro organisms. Hydro-degradable Plastics are decomposed first through water and then by microorganisms. Oxo-degradable plastics are decomposed with the exposure of an additive to them.

Most commonly used petroleum based Plastics contribute to 25% of landfills in United States requiring 20,000 barrels of oil per day. The fundamental logic behind biodegradable plastic is that they get decomposed into small pieces of molecules which can be consumed by bugs and  fungi.

Pizza Hut, KFC, New international, Walmart and Marriott hotels are some of the popular companies using bio-degradable bags. However some critics say that these bags decompose in 18 months. At the same time companies claim that they get decomposed in three days only, while conventional bags take a long time of 100 days.

There is still a wide scope for new innovation to take place and that can happen only if there is a demand for biodegradable plastics bags. This is high time for everyone to make a commitment to save the environment.

Advantages of Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable plastic, as its name suggests, is capable of biologically decomposing itself into its base compounds of water, carbon dioxide and biomass over a period of time. This plastic is environment friendly, hence is being now widely used as a solution for the ever increasing pollution problem across the globe.

Conventional plastic, which is a petrochemical based product, is not easily absorbed by nature. When dumped on earth, it prevents passage of water and air into soil thereby reducing fertility of soil. Even after destruction, it leaves a reminiscent layer on earth which is insoluble.

biodegradable plastic life cycle

But biodegradable plastic is not a product of petrochemicals. It is made from agricultural and animal resources like starch, cellulose, casein, collagen etc. which are easily absorbable. When such plastic gets buried under soil, it gradually gets decomposed on its own into gases and water and disappears from the place after a short period of time. It does not leave any residual layer on the soil as well. So, biodegradable plastic is a better solution for environmental protection and pollution control.

biodegradable plastic

There are many doubts regarding the feasibility of the use of biodegradable plastic like the high cost factor and requirement of space for composting. Even then, the usage of biodegradable plastic can be considered as beneficial and good for many reasons some of which are summed up below.

It is not a product of petrochemical and does not contain any element of chemicals, hence is eco-friendly.

• It is decomposable into its natural elements which mean it returns to nature easily.
• It gives us all the uses of other conventional plastic.
• Production of biodegradable plastic requires less energy.
• Its use decreases import of petroleum products as biodegradable plastic does not require petroleum for its composition unlike conventional plastic.
• Even when animals consume these plastic bags, it is not harmful because of being produced from natural elements.
• When this plastic gets littered around the streets due to carelessness or gets blown away by winds, you need not get worried because it as the decomposition easily takes place within some weeks.

Secrets of Biodegradable Plastic

Every year more than million tons of plastic is disposed in the environment leading to pollution. Only a small portion of plastic waste is often recycled. Biodegradable plastic is the only alternative to ordinary plastic bags and materials. It helps to reduce pollution to a large extent. Millions of plastic bags are used by people all over the world. It is quite difficult to exist without the use of these bags but it is known to be detrimental to the environment in more ways than one.          

Renewable plastic materials are made of polymers which are developed from products such as cornstarch. Regular plastic bags are made of petroleum based products such as polyester. With the use of renewable plastic bags, the use of petroleum is reduced to 80 percent as organic materials are used to manufacture recyclable plastic.

Benefits of Biodegradable Plastic

One of the greatest benefits of these plastic materials is that it can be reused many times. Recyclable plastic breaks down into eco-friendly materials such as carbon dioxide, methane and water. Once it is broken down, it is processed by fungi and bacteria. Compared to the non- renewable plastic, the recyclable plastic takes lesser time to break down. It considerably reduces the amount of waste materials that pile up in the environment. As renewable plastic is made of organic matter and natural elements such as grass and trees, it is easily decomposed.

Biodegradable plastic is environment friendly as the biomass materials decompose and seep into the soil. Compared to the non- renewable plastic materials, the manufacturing process involved in renewable plastic is less harmful to the environment. It seldom emits harmful gases that cause depletion in the ozone layer.

As renewable plastic contains biomass materials, it is less harmful to human beings. Most of the non- renewable plastic materials contain harmful chemicals and toxins which can affect human health adversely. With the use of renewable plastic materials, there is hardly any health risk involved.

Recyclable plastic materials can be renewed without sorting plastic materials. It is important to purchase renewable plastic bags and other materials so that it can be recycled easily.

Biodegradable Plastics an Alternative to Save the Environment

Plastic, one of the most useful items in the world, is considered to be the vital part of our daily lives. We find it difficult to live without plastic. It is conventionally easy to make plastic and are relatively cheaper compared to other materials. However, the danger evoked by plastic waste is a matter of grave concern. This growing concern has led to the discovery of biodegradable plastics which is considered the best alternative to non degradable plastics used these days.

Significance of Biodegradable Plastics

Today most of the stores use polyethylene bags which take more than hundreds of years to degrade, leading to the release of toxic gases into the environment. Polyethylene bags are made of petroleum based products where as biodegradable plastics are made of plant based materials or vegetable oils which cause no environmental harm. Although biodegradable plastics have been discovered since many years, it was used sparingly due to its high costs.

Biodegradable plastics are the new form of plastics which have become quite popular in the markets due to its advantageous properties. As it is environment friendly, it is widely used for various purposes. Today it is widely used for waste bin liner bags, shopping bags, fishing nets, cups, cutlery, straws, plates, sanitary products, bottles, planter boxes and so forth.

Another product that is made from biodegradable plastic is plantable pots. These plant pots are made by the process of injection moulding. These pots can be placed directly into the soil along with the plants.

Environmental Benefits

Compared to the conventional plastic products made from petroleum products, the biodegradable plastic has a number of notable environmental benefits. The soil derives a number of benefits when biodegradable plastic decomposes which includes increase in the organic content in the soil, retention of water and nutrients and reduce plant diseases.

Compared to the non-biodegradable plastics, less energy is required to combine and manufacture the biodegradable plastics. Disposal of biodegradable bags and plastic products are known to increase the potential of methane in the soil. It also reduces the usage of space needed for decomposition. In short, the prominence of biodegradable plastic in our daily lives is quite unfathomable.