Bioplastics, or plastic made from renewable organic materials, are replacing single-use plastic at an increasing rate. Bioplastics are made from renewable, plant based materials or from other biological sources which aren't petroleum based. Bioplastics claim to be bio-degradable meaning they car be broken down by water, carbon dioxide or micro-organisms when composted.
TYPES OF BIO-PLASTICS
- Cellulose-based: this bioplastic contains cellulose derivatives and cellulose esters.
- Starch-based: these types of bioplastics usually contain corn starch and mixed with biodegradable polyesters.
- Protein-based: this bioplastic contains various proteins, including gluten, milk, and casein.
- Organic polyethylene: these types of bioplastics contain fermented raw materials like corn and sugar cane.
Unlike the name suggests, the various types of bioplastics come with varying degrees of compostability. Since some bioplastics take more than a year to break down, they are technically not biodegradable. Some bioplastics market themselves as compostable, the issue with this is that many types of bioplastics require very high temperatures in order to break down. This means that any bioplastic that isn’t properly disposed of ends up having the same effect on the planet as regular plastic.
It is argued that bioplastics are a form of green washing as they are used of large companies in order to portray themselves as more environmentally friendly.
It is important to consider what a company considers to be sustainable or environmentally friendly, as it may differ from yours. It is also important to consider now much of what they're producing is sustainable, if this is only minimal
it is possible that the sustainable aspect they're advertising is a form of green washing.