The application of bioplastic is becoming increasingly popular. According this recent report, the global market for this type of plastic will grow at a whopping 18.8% CAGR between 2023 and 2030. This can be explained by several factors; the increased need for sustainable products, government restrictions on traditional plastics, and the material’s continued improved.
To give you an idea of its significance in today’s world, we’ll take a look at some of the most common applications of bioplastic in different industries.
Bioplastic means a type of plastic that’s gotten from biomass (or partly made using biomass). The raw materials for the bioplastic industry, therefore, include the following: plant starch, plant oils, and even straw or wood chips and recycled food.
In contrast, traditional plastic is made from petrochemicals or, in other words, petroleum-based materials. Bioplastic offers several benefits when compared to conventional plastic, as we will see shortly when we discuss its many uses.
What is Bioplastic Used For?
The use of bioplastic covers almost all industries. This is mainly due to its sustainable production, although other benefits apply as well. So before we can see what these applications of bioplastic are, here is what you need to know about the material’s safety and benefits.
Is Bioplastic Safe?
It depends on the type of bioplastic, its chemical structure and other factors such as usage condition. Some, like PLA, are non-toxic and can biodegrade. This makes it suitable for applications that involve concern for human health. Examples include making food packaging containers, agricultural products, and the manufacture of medical implants.
Advantages of Bioplastics
Why bioplastic? You may ask. Several reasons explain the continued uptake of bioplastic, with the material being used in many different sectors. The advantages of bioplastic, when used to manufacture products, include the following.
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Reduced use or reliance on non-renewable resources (fossil fuels)
- Bioplastics are less toxic than oil-based plastics, and biocompatible enough for use as medical implants.
- Most bioplastics decompose at faster rates than plastics made form petrochemicals
- Some bioplastics, such as PLA, are not only biodegradable but also compostable
Application of Bioplastic
The application of bioplastic today covers almost every sector: the packaging sector, the automotive world, textiles, medical devices and so on. Some of the most common bioplastic applications, including the material’s benefits in the specific use, are listed below.
Application of Bioplastic for Food Packaging
Bioplastic application in the food packaging industry is one of its most important uses. It provides not only a sustainable way to manufacture packaging, but also a material that will not introduce harmful particles into the food.
The application of bioplastic for food packaging can take many different forms; trays, bottles, cups, jars, and wrapping film. These are mostly disposable, single use containers that best suit events, cafés, and similar settings.
Bioplastics in Medical Applications
In the medical industry, the use of bioplastics includes the manufacture of devices that can be used inside the human body. These can range from pins to hold bones together to sutures and drug delivery capsules.
The use of bioplastics in medical applications is made possible by their unique properties. For example, PLA, a bioplastic that’s mainly derived from plants, is non-toxic and biocompatible. It also degrades harmlessly, making it suitable for temporary medical structures.
Bioplastic 3D Printing
Popular bioplastic applications also include their use in 3D printing technologies. This technology mostly uses plastics, with bioplastic becoming a popular material due to its production sustainability and ability to harmlessly degrade over time. That’s in addition to some being printable at lower temperatures.
Bioplastic 3D printing also takes advantage of the food-safe qualities of some types of the material such as polylactic acid. PLA filaments are available, and these can be used to 3D-print an array of products, from cakes to packaging containers and other items.
Bioplastic textiles present a greener alternative to the plastics gotten from petrochemicals, offering a novel way to produce fibers for a variety of uses. Bioplastic fibers may also be used in combination with other materials, such as wool and cotton, to produce textiles with specific qualities.
An example of the application of bioplastic in the textiles industry is seen in the manufacture of disposable PLA clothes such as medical gowns. These fabrics are biodegradable, and can be composted in controlled conditions to reduce their adding to the problem of plastic waste.
Bioplastic in Architecture
In the architectural world, engineers are using bioplastics to build sustainable structures — from full-sized houses to interior design products. Bioplastic applications in this field provides for a sustainable building material, which goes hand in hand with the move toward a greener world.
With researchers finding new ways of using bioplastic in architecture, we’ll continue to see its continued uptake in the industry. New types of bioplastics with better strength and rigidity properties are also being discovered, which adds to the material’s usefulness in the construction industry.
Bioplastics in Automotive Industry
In automobiles, bioplastics are commonly being used to manufacture various car parts and accessories; door panels, dashboards, carpets and seats. In this report by Future Market Insights, the market for automotive bioplastic products will hit $1, 442 in 2029, after an annual growth (CAGR) of 10.7%.
In addition to providing for a sustainable way of making car parts, the use of bioplastics in the automotive industry presents a better substitute to traditional plastics in several ways; better material properties and aesthetics, not affected by fluctuating oil prices, and more.
Bioplastic Application in Agriculture
Bioplastic is used to make mulching film that can help conserve water and save pesticides. Bioplastic application in agriculture also includes making seed trays, nets, and fertilizers that slowly release nutrients to plants.
The application of biodegradable plastics offers sustainability and safety benefits. The material will not pollute the soil, for instance, and can be used around animals. Additionally, these plastics are designed to decompose over time, presenting an eco-friendly material to use on agricultural fields.
The application of bioplastic presents a sustainable approach for both consumers and manufacturers. In some sectors such as the medical industry, the material offers many benefits that cannot be gotten from traditional plastics, such as biocompatibility. With researchers constantly improving their capabilities, bioplastics are set to replace traditional plastics in many different industries.