Bioplastics versus Plastic Products made of Raw Oil
If you look around in their own home or in the supermarket, you will quickly find out that we are completely surrounded by plastic. Packaging, kitchen and household items … everywhere we find the practical material. Over the past century, plastics have got off to a veritable triumph. The industry appreciates the material to be stable, lightweight and that it can be used individually. Even at low temperatures plastic can be shaped. The production of the packaging is correspondingly affordable.
There’s just one catch. The production of plastics is becoming increasingly more expensive as raw oil and natural gas are becoming scarce and the purchase prices increase accordingly. So it comes slowly to a rethinking process for purely economic reasons.
Environment and Health
But the actual light shade sides of plastics are long known: When the disused products are disposed of, it takes about 500 years for the plastics being degraded. Not all countries do collect their waste by way of recycling bins and feed it back by recycling into the cycle of reusable materials. Instead, our oceans serve as a plastic garbage dump. The increase in environmental burden and pollution is impressively represented in the film Plastic Planet.
In addition to the environmental problem also the negative effects on the health of humans and animals increase. We absorb the smallest plastic particles through the skin and the food. Firstly, because we are in contact with skin in our daily use with plastic, especially with the so harmful bisphenol A. Secondly, because through the packaging and storage in plastic our food gives tiny particles thereof to us. And because by the disposal in seas and lakes now also fish are polluted with plastic deposits – and then finish up freshly caught on our plates.
Bioplastic provides a remedy
Luckily, there are now an increasing number of alternatives from bioplastic. These have advantages in terms of health and the environment and are therefore very sustainable.
In the production mostly renewable raw materials on the basis of starch and cellulose are used. This saves resources and the climate, because after use the products manufactured hereby set free only the amount of carbon dioxide that was previously taken up by the plants used from the atmosphere during their growth phase. Through the use of products made from bioplastics, the CO2 emissions will be reduced, the finite fossil resources are protected. At the same time we reduce our dependence on them.
There is also a health harmlessness, since no hazardous plasticizers such as bisphenol A are included.
It is important to distinguish between bioplastics, which are made from renewable resources, and those that are biodegradable, and therefore compostable. What is meant here mostly is compostable in the commercial sense. So you run no risk that the products decompose into their constituents in your own household. The prefix “bio” of bioplastics thus has a two-fold (and therefore slightly confusing) meaning.
Provider of bioplastic
A world without plastic, it will no longer exist. As a consumer, you can be resourceful by for example avoiding plastic bags or at least using them multiple times, or by replacing plastic by glass containers. And in addition, take care for yourself by switching to bioplastics. Provider of bioplastic products can be found on Greenpicks – Eco- and Upcycling-Market, for example storage boxes by ajaa!, kitchen and household helpers by Biodora, children’s toys by BioFactur, pens by Biowert and freezer bags by NaKu.
To get started we recommend especially the breakfast set of Biodora in the shop of promavis.
History of origins and outlook
Since the mid-1950s, there are large-scale manufacturing processes for today dominant plastics polyethylene and polypropylene. Plastics have been developed for diverse applications with different material properties. It was only after 1980, there were innovations in the field of bioplastics, which are mainly due to an altered ecological awareness. Renewable raw materials and closed cycles were the arguments for this, later it was also the substitution of oil as the main raw material due to rising oil prices and the finiteness of resources.
Currently, the development of bioplastics is mainly driven on the basis of sustainability and resource conservation. Agricultural land for the substantial use of renewable raw materials is considered as an essential pillar of agriculture in the future. In the meantime, there is a real flying high of the biomaterial bioplastic observable. Even experts were surprised by the latest growth forecasts for bioplastics. Their wildest expectations will be greatly exceeded in the coming years. By 2016, the global market is expected to quintuple its production volume to nearly 6 million tons. This emerges from a market forecast that the industry association European Bioplastics, Berlin, publishes annually in cooperation with the Institute of bioplastics and biocomposites of the University of Hannover.