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Bio-based plastics are derived from biomass, such as plants like corn, sugarcane, vegetable oil, or wood pulp. In contrast, biodegradable plastics possess the ability to break down into natural substances like water, carbon dioxide, and compost with the help of micro-organisms in the environment. Bioplastics certainly hold great promise in addressing the environmental issues associated with traditional plastics. By utilizing renewable sources like agricultural waste, cellulose, or starch, bioplastics can significantly reduce the reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels and decrease the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or oceans. It’s encouraging to see advancements in this area and the potential for bioplastics to play a significant role in sustainable manufacturing and packaging.

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Types of Bioplastics

  • Various materials such as starch, sugar, and cellulose can be used to make bioplastics.
  • Manufacturers commonly use cellulose-based plastics, derived from wood pulp, for film-based materials like wrappers.
  • Starch-based thermoplastics, prized for their ability to absorb moisture, find application in producing drug capsules.
  • Polylactic Acid (PLA), derived from starch fermentation, is versatile and is found in computer and mobile phone casings, cups, bottles, and packaging.
  • Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is employed in manufacturing items such as banknotes and car parts.
  • Polyamide 11 (PA 11), made from vegetable oils, serves in the production of oil and gas flexible pipes and electrical anti-termite cable sheathing.
  • Photo-degradable plastic breaks down when exposed to light, offering an environmentally friendly disposal option.

Positive Impact of Bioplastics


  • Bioplastics surpass petro plastics in terms of fossil-fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy efficiency.
  • Biodegradable plastics are easily recyclable and non-toxic.
  • They reduce the carbon footprint.
  • Bioplastics do not require the consumption of non-renewable raw materials.
  • Production of bioplastics reduces non-biodegradable waste that pollutes the environment.
  • They are free from harmful additives like phthalates or bisphenol A, making them safer for health.
  • Bioplastics do not alter the flavor or scent of the contained food.
  • They are equally durable and versatile, finding applications in agriculture, textiles, medicine, and packaging.
  • Biopolymers are gaining popularity in cities across Europe and the United States due to their ecological benefits.

Negative Impact of Bioplastics

  • Bioplastic production consumes approximately 80% of the energy required for conventional plastic production.
  • Only 40% of bioplastic samples tested for biodegradability by the Central Pollution Control Board in 2009 passed the test.
  • Compostable plastics can take around 40 days to compost, posing a risk of ingestion by small animals during that time.
  • Bioplastics claim biodegradability when exposed to water, but standards require disintegration into bits smaller than 2 millimeters and conversion of at least 30% of carbon into carbon dioxide within six months.
  • Bioplastics may contaminate seas for over six months and may not degrade in colder sea temperatures.
  • Micro-plastics from bioplastics cause severe damage to marine life.
  • It’s difficult for people to differentiate bioplastics from regular plastics in the trash, especially in regions with limited waste segregation.
  • Not all bioplastics are biodegradable.


Rather than focusing solely on plastics, it’s beneficial to explore alternative methods that prioritize environmental sustainability. This includes practices such as composting and raising awareness about the significance of waste management to safeguard our environment.

Read also Laws in India Regulating Plastic Waste

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