Bioplastics have their merits as a packaging material, but what are they and are they right for your product? They’re a type of plastic made from renewable biomass sources like vegetable fats, starches, and cellulose. Before changing your packaging materials, it's wise to talk with a packaging engineer to using bioplastics for packaging your product is the right move. Contact us at StrategicPackagingPartners.com or CLICK HERE to schedule a free consultation with an experienced packaging engineer.
The main types of bioplastics are:
Biodegradable Bioplastics: These are plastics that can be broken down by microorganisms into natural substances like water, carbon dioxide, and biomass. They are typically made from renewable resources like starches, cellulose, or natural fibers. Examples of biodegradable bioplastics include polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), and starch-based plastics.
Non-Biodegradable Bioplastics: These are made from renewable resources but are not biodegradable. They may still offer environmental benefits over traditional plastics because they are made from renewable resources, but they will not break down in the environment. Examples include bio-based polyethylene (PE), bio-based polypropylene (PP), and bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Bioplastics from Bio-based Feedstocks: These are made from bio-based feedstocks, but their biodegradability depends on the specific material and conditions. They are typically made from renewable resources like corn, sugarcane, or vegetable oils. Examples include bio-based polyethylene (PE), bio-based polypropylene (PP), and bio-based polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Blends: These are are made by blending bioplastics with traditional plastics to create a material that offers some of the benefits of bioplastics, such as reduced dependence on fossil fuels, while maintaining the durability and other properties of traditional plastics. Examples include polyethylene (PE) blended with sugarcane-based ethanol, and polycarbonate (PC) blended with vegetable oil-based materials.
Determining what's right for your company will depend on a multitude of factors like company sustainability goals, compatibility with your product and equipment, specific regulatory factors affecting your industry, marketing and appearance needs, amongst others.
A good place to start is to book a call with an experienced packaging engineer to see if bioplastics are right for your company!