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Realizing the Importance of Biodegradable Plastics in today’s Environment-conscious World

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Published on : Mar 07, 2016

Biodegradable plastics are decomposed in nature with the help of the action of microorganisms. The rising legislative support and the increasing demand for environment friendly plastics has greatly propelled the expansion of the global biodegradable plastics market. The rapid growth of the packaging sector has also contributed toward the development of the biodegradable plastics market. 

High Prices Responsible for Declining Demand of Petro-based Biodegradable Plastics 

There are two main types of biodegradable plastics: bio-based biodegradable plastics and petro-based biodegradable plastics. The demand for petro-based biodegradable plastics has diminished in recent times owing to the rather high and erratic prices of petrochemical products. However, this segment is currently seeing new investment opportunities, a fact that is sure to boost the growth of this segment. 

Biodegradable Plastic Packaging in Great Demand for Perishable Foods

The packaging industry forms the largest end-use segment of the overall biodegradable plastics market. Packaging may include food packaging, beverage packaging, and industrial packaging. A team of scientists at the National University of Singapore recently developed an innovative biodegradable packaging material to help increase the shelf life of perishable food items. This environment friendly composite film is made from natural ingredients such as chitosan and grapefruit seed extract. Further studies are underway to improve this technology.

Use of Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Fueled by New Industry Coalition 

Oxo-biodegradable plastics reportedly biodegrade in a way similar to a blade of grass or a leaf. This material stops being a plastic while degrading and decomposes with no traces of any toxic residue. Instead, water, carbon dioxide, and biomass are generated in the form of biodegradable mass. Critics, however, argue that these oxo-biodegradable plastics actually do not biodegrade in the natural environment. This argument has resulted in several negative reviews regarding oxo-biodegradable plastics, with France even banning these plastics in 2014.

Despite this, players within the biodegradable plastics market have not been deterred and are now focusing on research and development activities to fully understand the correct use of oxo- biodegradable plastics.