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What is biodegradable plastic?

Jul. 20, 2020
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We are engaged in the production, sales, and development of biodegradable materials and products include transparent, green biodegradable and compostable bags, disposable tableware, and packaging compostable foam Etc. The biodegradable bag supplier shares this article for you.

Biodegradable plastic refers to a type of plastic that is degraded by the action of microorganisms in nature, such as bacteria, mold (fungus), and algae. The ideal biodegradable plastic is a polymer material that has excellent performance, can be completely decomposed by environmental microorganisms after being discarded, and is finally unorganized to become a component of the carbon cycle in nature.

"Paper" is a typical biodegradable material, and "synthetic plastic" is a typical polymer material. Therefore, biodegradable plastics are polymer materials with the properties of both "paper" and "synthetic plastic".

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable Plastics


Application of biodegradable plastics


Because of its good degradability, biodegradable plastics are mainly used as food soft and hard packaging materials, which is also its biggest application field at this stage.

The main target markets for biodegradable plastics are plastic packaging films, agricultural films, disposable plastic bags, and disposable plastic tableware. Compared with traditional plastic packaging materials, the cost of new degradable materials is slightly higher. However, with the increasing awareness of environmental protection, people are willing to use new degradable materials at a higher price to protect the environment. The increased awareness of environmental protection has brought huge development opportunities to the biodegradable new material industry.


Classification of biodegradable bags



01 Polycaprolactone (PCL)

This plastic has good biodegradability and its melting point is 62°C. The microorganisms that decompose it are widely distributed under optimistic or anaerobic conditions


02 Polybutylene succinate (PBS) and its copolymers

The technology for manufacturing various high molecular weight polyesters based on PBS (melting point 114°C) has reached the level of industrial production


03. Polylactic acid (PLA)


Natureworks of the United States has done active and effective work in improving the production process of polylactic acid and developed the fermentation of glucose in corn to produce polylactic acid, with an annual production capacity of 14,000 tons.


04. Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)


Using biodegradable plastics obtained from renewable resources, mixing aliphatic polyester and starch together, the technology to produce degradable plastics has also been successfully studied. In European and American countries, blends of starch and aliphatic polyester are widely used to produce garbage bags and other products.


05. Aliphatic aromatic copolyester


The aliphatic-aromatic random copolyester (Ecoflex) manufactured by BASF in Germany has monomers: adipic acid, terephthalic acid, and 1,4-butanediol. The production capacity is 140,000 tons/year. At the same time, biodegradable plastic products based on polyester and starch have been developed.
06. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) biodegradable plastic

For example, in the 1990s of the Italian NOVMANT's MaterBi product, PVA was mainly added to starch, which can blow film and process other products.


Market status of biodegradable plastics


By 2019, the market value of the biodegradable plastics industry will grow to US$3.477 billion with an average annual growth rate of 13.01%. The European biodegradable plastics market is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 12% from 2014 to 2019.

Biodegradable plastics usher in a period of rapid development. Although the concept of biodegradable plastics has been hyped up, the application has not been able to increase the volume.

Biodegradable plastics are mainly used in packaging, fiber, agriculture, injection molding and other fields. Among them, they are the most widely used in the packaging industry. In 2013, they accounted for about 60% of the total market. Food packaging demand accounted for biodegradability. The plastic packaging market shares more than 70%; the injection molding application market is the main driving force for the growth of demand for biodegradable plastics.


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