1. Industry
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!



Definition: Bioplastics are similar to biomass plastics in that they are made by fermentation of plant sugars, which makes them carbon neutral and eliminates the need for non-renewable petroleum (oil) plastics. The difference is that bioplastics are, by definition, biodegradable or compostable, because their polymers are different from those derived from crude oil, and the chemical bonds are more susceptible to degradation by enzymes produced by natural microorganisms. In that respect, bioplastics are a true example of a green technology.

Examples of bioplastic polymers are polylactic acid (PLA), polycaprolactone (PCL), polyhydroxybutyrate-covalerate (PHBV), and polyesteramide. They can be made from plants such as canola, soybean, corn and potatoes. Like biomass plastics, bioplastics can also be made from wastes of the food industry, making food production processes more sustainable. Bioplastics are also used to make many different commercial products. Because they eventually degrade, the biopolymers used to make bioplastics have a special role in medicine, as they are used to make sutures (eg. polyesteramide).

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.