In today’s world, plastic materials are an essential commodity in our daily life due to their valuable properties both at the molecular level and at the market level. Worldwide annual plastic production has increased tremendously from 1.5 million metric tons in 1950 to 359 million metric tons in 2018. Plastics have properties such as high durability, resistance, easy to handle, and cost-effective due to all such valuable properties it leads to high demand and thus leads to uncontrollable over usage and improper disposal causes various environmental degradation.
The increasing amount of plastic waste leading to “Landfill Problems” which has emerged as a crisis in many areas of the world because of the shrinking of landfill capacity and thus raising the cost of the land. A huge number of plastic wastes accumulating in the oceans and thus leading to “Oceanic pollution” and thus making a threat to the marine ecosystem and it has been estimated that the mart of plastic waste in oceans going to surpass a large number of fishes by 2050. The carbon footprint of Plastics is also high which increases the greenhouse gas effect in the atmosphere and further leading to “Global Warming”. The “Non-Biodegradable” property of plastics is also a big challenge for the conservation of nonrenewable sources of energy for the future generations as the current global scenario the price of petroleum also hiked markedly because of high demand and low production leading to resource exploitation. Also, The incineration of plastic wastes produces several harmful gases such as dioxins, furans, Mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls into the atmosphere, and poses a threat to vegetation, and human and animal health.
In recent years, these environmental/economic problems and social concerns have triggered the development of environmentally friendly materials such as bioplastics. Bioplastics is a novel material that shows us a road map towards sustainable development and waste management. Bioplastics production and consumption will grow bigger in the future world and because of this it is needed to be evaluated carefully for sustainability and waste management. In future Bioplastics can be choose as an alternative resource over petroleum-based plastics.
What are Bioplastic?
Plastics which are deduced from renewable sources and similar to vegetables, bounce, potatoes, and other agrarian remainders similar type of plastics are called bioplastics.
Green plastics are composting in nature thereby it gets demoralized fluently by the help of microorganisms therefore perfecting the soil fertility and reducing tips not only this it also has a low carbon footmark which reduces emigration of the hothouse feasts, therefore, precluding global warming. It also has an analogous property similar like petroleum- grounded plastics similar like continuity and because of all these parcels bioplastics also plays an important part in artificial purpose similar to packaging, food diligence, motorcars, etc. Employment of new ways for manufacturing of bioplastics that promote sustainable result and reduce the plastic waste has been greatly encouraged in recent times and these plastics are new accoutrements of 21st century and have great significance. These are presently used as packaging accoutrements, but in the future, these will be used in forming plastics are presently used in forming colorful products similar as electronics and vehicle corridor.
Types of Bioplastic
Starch-based Bioplastics: It is derived from starch and it is obtained from potato, corn etc.
Polyhydroxyalkanoate bioplastic: It is produced from microorganisms such as PHV(PolyHydroxy Valerate) and PHH.
Polylactic acid bioplastic: It is produced without undergoing any processing such like distillation and polymerization. It is obtained directly from biomass resources such like corn starch and sugarcane.
Cellulose-based Bioplastics: These are mainly the cellulose ester and their derivatives. Ethyl cellulose is the only ether from which we can produce Bioplastics.
Advantages and Challenges Of bioplastic
1. Saves Non-Renewable sources of energy as the biodegradable plastics help to conserve petroleum supplies whereas the traditional plastics are manufactured by heating and treating oil under high temperature.
2. Reduces Carbon Emissions and it is one of the most vital environmental concerns nowadays, so by implementing bioplastics there will be significant reduction of carbon emission during its manufacturing process.
3. Consumes less Energy during its manufacturing processes as they do not need any fossil fuels to be recycled therefore as the energy requirement is less, so it ensures reduction in environmental pollution.
4. Eco-Friendly solution as the Bioplastics, are compostable in nature it requires proper recycling to ensure the proper breakdown of plastic pieces. The requirement to properly dispose the Bioplastics which automatically reduces the number of wastes otherwise this waste would send to landfills to discard them.
However, possible challenges might come along with the use of bioplastics. There are some of the challenges of bioplastics such as.
1. It is acclaimed that bioplastics cost two times more than the conventional plastics.
2. Recycling problems- Bioplastic material might contaminate the whole manufacturing operation if it is not separated from conventional plastics.
3. As bioplastics are produced from renewable sources which might lead to a reduction in raw material reserves.
Prospects and Challenges of bioplastic
Here we have discussed about Bioplastics its types, advantages, and challenges and about its prospects. Utilization of renewable sources to produce bioplastics over the petroleum sources are more beneficial for sustainability and resource conservation. Petrochemical-based plastics are much harmful for the environment as it leads to environmental pollution from manufacturing to recycling, they produce toxic gases which are much harmful for human life. We should switch to bioplastics as it is obtained from renewable resources, less carbon footprint and thus less carbon emission, sustainable option in comparison to petroleum-based plastics. Hence the research and development in the field of bioplastics are much needed and should be encouraged.
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