Table of Contents:
- Introduction to Biodegradable Plastics
- Understanding the Need for Sustainable Plastics
- Differentiating Between Traditional Plastics and Biodegradable Plastics
- Fundamentals of Biodegradability
- Factors Influencing Biodegradation
- Types of Biodegradable Plastics
- Role of Biodegradable Future towards sustainability
- Organization’s Overview
- Biodegradable Future’s Impact on Environment
- Biodegradable Future’s Additives
- What are Additives – Definition
- Benefits of Biodegradable Future’s Additives
- How do Biodegradable Future’s Additives work
- Manufacturing Process for using Biodegradable Future’s Additives
Introduction to Biodegradable Plastics
The widespread use of plastics in today’s society has resulted in a worrying environmental catastrophe. Conventional plastics, which are made of fossil fuels, have ruined ecosystems for a very long time by filling up landfills and polluting the oceans. Biodegradable plastics reduce their environmental impact by decomposing naturally into harmless substances, offering a viable solution to this dilemma. This manual attempts to delve deeply into the world of biodegradable plastics, examining their varieties, methods of manufacture, uses, advantages, drawbacks, and the way toward a more sustainable future.
1.1 Understanding the Need for Sustainable Plastics
In order to overcome environmental concerns, sustainable plastics are crucial. Traditional plastics contribute to pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource depletion because they are made from fossil fuels. Instead of relying on finite resources and increasing carbon emissions, sustainable plastics are produced from recycled or renewable materials. They reduce plastic waste by being easily recyclable or biodegradable. Sustainable alternatives are essential to reduce ecological harm, conserve resources, and fight climate change as our globe struggles with plastic pollution. An important first step toward a cleaner, healthier, and more responsible future for both people and the earth is to embrace sustainable plastics.
1.2 Differentiating Between Traditional Plastics and Biodegradable Plastics
Here’s a table differentiating between traditional plastics and biodegradable plastics:
|Aspect||Traditional Plastics||Biodegradable Plastics|
|Source of Raw Materials||Derived from fossil fuels||Derived from renewable resources or recycled materials|
|Production Process||Typically energy-intensive and resource-consuming||Generally more energy-efficient and eco-friendly production processes|
|Decomposition in Nature||Non-biodegradable; can persist for hundreds of years||Biodegradable; break down into natural substances over time|
|Environmental Impact||Contribute to plastic pollution, harm wildlife, and damage ecosystems||Reduce plastic pollution and mitigate harm to the environment|
|Biodegradation Time||Do not naturally biodegrade||Biodegrade within a specified timeframe, depending on the type|
|Recycling||Often challenging due to diverse types and lack of recycling infrastructure||Generally easier to recycle or compost under controlled conditions|
|Carbon Footprint||High carbon emissions during production and disposal||Lower carbon emissions due to renewable source materials and biodegradation|
|Applications||Widespread use in various industries||Used in specific applications where biodegradability is a priority|
|Cost||Often cost-effective due to abundant raw materials||May be more expensive due to specialized production methods|
|End-of-Life Management Options||Landfill, incineration, or persistent waste||Composting, recycling, or controlled degradation|
It’s important to note that the biodegradability of plastics can vary depending on their composition and environmental conditions, so not all biodegradable plastics behave the same way.
2. Fundamentals of Biodegradability
A key idea in sustainability is biodegradability, which describes a material’s capacity to gradually decompose into harmless components through natural processes. The composition of the material, the environment, and the presence of microorganisms are important considerations. Biodegradable polymers, made from renewable resources, present a viable way to fight plastic pollution and lessen its negative effects on the environment. Biodegradability supports our shared goal of a greener and more sustainable future by promoting decomposition and reducing waste. Knowing these fundamentals enables us to make wise decisions, encourage eco-friendly behavior, and usher in a world where innovation and the environment coexist together.
2.1 Factors Influencing Biodegradation
Several important aspects have an impact on biodegradation, which is the natural breakdown of compounds by microbes. The content of the substance is important; synthetic polymers decompose more slowly than organic materials like food waste. Biodegradation rates are influenced by environmental factors such as temperature, moisture content, and oxygen concentration. The right microorganisms are essential for decomposition since different materials call for different microbial communities. Chemical additions can either speed up or slow down biodegradation. The process is also impacted by size, pH levels, and duration. Promoting sustainable behaviors, lowering pollution, and utilizing biodegradation’s ability to produce a cleaner, more environmentally friendly world all depend on understanding these aspects.
2.2 Types of Biodegradable Plastics
Under some circumstances, biodegradable polymers are created to naturally degrade into harmless molecules, minimizing their negative effects on the environment. There are various different kinds of biodegradable polymers, each having unique properties and uses:
Polylactic Acid (PLA): PLA is made from sustainable sources like sugarcane or cornstarch. It is frequently utilized in 3D printing, throwaway dinnerware, and food packaging. For efficient decomposition, PLA biodegrades in industrial composting facilities under controlled conditions.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA): Produced by microorganisms, PHA is a class of biodegradable polymers. It is adaptable and can be utilized in many different applications, including as medical devices, agricultural films, and packaging materials. PHA degrades in both natural settings and commercial composting systems.
Polybutylene Adipate Terephthalate (PBAT): PBAT is often used in combination with other biodegradable plastics to enhance their properties. It’s commonly found in compostable bags and films and biodegrades in industrial composting environments.
Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB): PHB is a type of PHA and is entirely biodegradable. It’s used in applications like disposable cutlery, food packaging, and agricultural films. PHB biodegrades in industrial composting facilities and natural settings.
Starch-Based Plastics: These plastics use starch as a primary ingredient, often blended with other biodegradable polymers. They are used in packaging, disposable items, and agricultural applications. Starch-based plastics typically biodegrade in industrial composting facilities.
Polyester-based Plastics: Certain polyesters, like polybutylene succinate (PBS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET), can be made biodegradable. They are used in textiles, packaging, and bottles. Biodegradable polyester plastics typically require industrial composting conditions for breakdown.
Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA): PVA is used in applications like water-soluble packaging and 3D printing materials. It’s water-soluble and can biodegrade in natural environments when exposed to moisture.
Polycaprolactone (PCL): PCL is a biodegradable polyester often used in drug delivery systems, orthopedic implants, and modeling applications. It biodegrades slowly in natural environments and may require industrial composting for faster decomposition.
Oxo-degradable Plastics: These plastics contain additives that promote fragmentation when exposed to oxygen and UV light. While they break down into smaller particles, they may not fully biodegrade and can leave microplastic residues.
It’s essential to note that the biodegradability of these plastics varies depending on factors like composition, environmental conditions, and disposal methods. Proper disposal and management are critical to ensure these materials break down as intended, minimizing their environmental impact. Additionally, certifications like ASTM D6400 or EN 13432 can help consumers identify genuine biodegradable products.
3. Role of Biodegradable Future towards sustainability
Biodegradable Future is a major distributor of organic additives that help plastic products biodegrade. Its additives make sure to enable microbes to consume the plastic in landfills, and oceans without changing the appearance or characteristics of your product.
Thus, Biodegradable Future plays a key role in sustainability, helping our environment to
become cleaner and greener and thus help in decreasing pollution levels, leading towards a sustainable future!
3.1 Organization’s Overview
Biodegradable Future is a global product developer and distributor of innovative & proven biodegradable technologies. Currently, 8 manufacturing plants are strategically placed worldwide.
The company Biodegradable Future specializes in providing clients with cutting-edge biodegradable products and additives that, when used in landfill, marine, or industrial composting environments, accelerate the biodegradation of plastic polymers.
Biodegradable Future’s applications are virtually endless in the petrochemical and natural polymer industries. It uses patented technology with international recognition. Biodegradable Future’s Additive portfolio surpassed others in the market due to its effectiveness and key benefits.
It was started in the year 2019 by Dean & Leviticus after years of researching to make vitamin beverage water bottles, and packaging, environmentally friendly.
3.2 Biodegradable Future’s Impact on Environment
Biodegradable Future has a positive impact on the environment as it helps in producing biodegradable plastics, which have the potential to break down into natural substances, reducing the persistence of plastic waste in the environment. Biodegradable plastics require specific conditions, such as sunlight, oxygen, and microbial activity, to degrade effectively. Their degradation may be slow in environments lacking these factors, like landfills or the ocean, leading to persistent pollution. In agriculture, biodegradable plastics can help reduce plastic pollution when managed correctly.
Nowadays, Companies are under pressure to improve their business practices and thus look for alternatives when it comes to packaging and product design because of the staggering number of plastic products that end up in landfills each year. Biodegradable Future’s additives are a great choice for any business that wants to use plastics in an environmentally responsible way for a number of reasons as those mentioned below –
- Maintain the strength of the plastic
- Are cost-effective and easily implemented
- Are versatile and adaptable to your needs
- Have been tested and proven to work
Over 90% of all plastic ends up in landfills Biodegradable Future’s product is designed to ensure that this stops becoming a problem.
4. Biodegradable Future’s Additives
Biodegradable Future’s Additives improves how microbes interact with plastic, facilitating their consumption of it. Mixing it with a petroleum-based resin helps draw microbes to the plastic product, where they can then move on to colonize the surface. Once fully colonized, the microbes use the plastic as food and continue to degrade the polymer chain.
4.1 What are Additives – Definition
Additives refer to the substances or compounds that are added to products or materials to achieve specific desired effects, properties, or functions. These substances are typically mixed or incorporated into a base material to enhance its performance, appearance, durability, or other characteristics. Additives can be found in various sectors, including food and beverages, plastics, fuels, cosmetics, and more.
4.2 Benefits of Biodegradable Future’s Additives
Biodegradable Future’s Additives naturally make plastic biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable without affecting product shelf life. It works on a variety of different plastic types, including –
It utilizes 100% organic technology. It’s Additives maintain the strength of the plastic and do not affect product property characteristics. Treated products can still be recycled in conventional recycling systems and PET can still be reused in r-PET. It does not reduce the shelf life of the product.
The by-product left by this additive is naturally compostable. It is a plug-and-play additive that requires no change to the current machinery setup and is added like a masterbatch. It is a plug-and-play additive that requires no change to the current machinery setup and is added like a masterbatch. It is FDA & EU Food & Drug Compliant.
The BF additive does not produce microplastics or nanoplastics because it is not an OXY/OXO additive.
Oxo-degradable products are known to break down into tiny pieces, but they won’t completely decay until they come into contact with oxygen, moisture, and sunlight.
Oxo-degradable products must be used under very specific circumstances in order to be effective, and even then, they won’t completely decompose, making them dangerous for animals and marine life that might mistake them for food.
4.3 The additive is not a PLA: BF additives degrade polymers
PLA is produced using Genetically Modified Organisms and requires the use of pesticides during the farming phase. The product is said to be compostable but can only be composted in commercial or industrial facilities, which are not readily found, meaning scalability becomes an issue.
PLA production requires components sourced from food crops, which we feel should be eaten rather than used to make plastic
How do Biodegradable Future Additives work
Biodegradable Future Additives is an organic additive used to accelerate the rate at which plastics biodegrade. BFA accelerates the biodegradation of treated plastics in microbe-rich environments. Plastics treated with BF have unlimited shelf life and are completely non-toxic. The organic compound within crude oil that is burned out during the cracking process is synthesized with nutrients and then grafted onto the plastic polymer chain. Adding BFA to petroleum-based or natural polymers such as PLA etc. resin attracts microbes to the product allowing them to control their PH level and become quorum sensing and colonize on the surface of the plastic.
Once the microbes have colonized on the plastic, they, identify with the plastic as a food source, during the feeding/ digestive process of the polymer, the micro-organisms secrete acids that break down the polymer chain during the various processes in both anaerobic (hydrolysis process), aerobic (oxygenizes process).
Microbes utilize the carbon backbone of the polymer chain as an energy source. The difference between BFA-treated plastic and traditional plastic is that BFA creates an opportunity for microbes to utilize plastic as food.
Once exposed to enzymes that act as catalysts found in landfills and other naturally created chemicals, the microorganisms will penetrate the treated plastic while other ingredients expand the molecular structure, making room for the incoming microbes. The microbes attract other microbes by releasing chemicals in a process called quorum sensing. Quorum sensing is a process by which the microbes determine where to nest and grow once they have found a reliable food source. Collectively, they feast on the polymer chains, breaking down the chemical bonds that hold the plastic together.
Biodegradable Future Additives provide a signal compared to regular plastics making it easier for it to react better with microbes, allowing them to consume it, naturally biodegrading into a nutritional soil (humus)
Adding it to a petroleum-based resin assists in attracting microbes to the plastic product so that they can proceed in colonizing the surface of it
When the colonization is complete, the microbes proceed to break down the polymer chain while utilizing the plastic as food.
4.4 Manufacturing Process for Using Biodegradable Future’s Additives
Using the Biodegradable Future’s Additives in the manufacturing process is easy to do and does not require equipment modification. It is added via a standard commercial gravimetric hopper just as anybody would add a colorant into the extruder feed-throat.