- “A Rebirth Of Plastics”
B.Tech (Plastic Technology), Final Year
Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET),Lucknow
Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers
Government Of India
2. CONTENTS :
What are Biodegradable Polymers ?
Types Of Biodegradable Polymers
Biodegradable Polymers VS
Future Of Biodegradable Polymers
Plastics are being used all over the world. From
drinking cups and disposable silverware to parts for
automobiles and motorcycles, plastics are
continuing to rise. Plastics have been an
environmental threat because of the lack of
degradation. Plastics make up about 20% by volume
waste per year. There are over 21,000 plastics
facilities in the US, and the employment rate has
increased by an average of three percent over the
past two and a half decades. Plastics are extremely
important to the job market as well as packaging
throughout the world. Since plastics are vital to
people’s everyday lives, production of
biodegradable plastics to make plastics more
compatible with the environment is necessary.
5. Brief History
Biodegradable Polymers began being sparking
interest during the oil crisis in 1970’s . As oil
prices increased, so did the planning & creating
of biodegradable materials. The 1980’s brought
items such as Biodegradable Films, Sheets , &
Mold forming materials. Green Materials or plant
based materials have become increasingly more
6. What are Biodegradable Polymers?
The American Society for Testing of Materials
(ASTM) and the International Standards Organization
(ISO) define degradable plastics as “Those which undergo a
significant change in chemical structure under specific
environmental conditions” .
These changes result in a loss of physical and mechanical
properties, as measured by standard methods. Biodegradable
plastics undergo degradation from the action of naturally
occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, and algae.
Between October 1990 and June 1992, confusion as to the
true definition of “biodegradable” led to lawsuits regarding
misleading and deceitful environmental advertising . Thus, it
became evident to the ASTM and ISO that common test
methods and protocols for degradable plastics were needed.
7. To be considered compostable, three
criteria must be met: biodegradation—it
has to break down into carbon dioxide,
water and biomass at the same rate as
cellulose; disintegration—the plastic must
become indistinguishable in the compost;
Most international standards (such
as ISO 17088) require at least a 60%
biodegradation of a product within 180
days, along with other factors, in order to
be called compostable.
• Conventional plastics are resistant to
biodegradation, as the surfaces in contact with
the soil in which they are disposed are
• Microorganisms within the soil are unable to
consume a portion of the plastic.
• This group of materials usually has an
impenetrable petroleum based matrix, which is
reinforced with carbon or glass fibers.
• The second class of polymer materials under
consideration is partially degradable.
• Production of this class of materials typically
includes surrounding naturally produced fibers
with a conventional (petroleum based) matrix.
• When disposed of, microorganisms are able to
consume the natural macromolecules within the
plastic matrix. This leaves a weakened material,
with rough, open edges. Further degradation
may then occur.
• The final class of polymer materials is currently
attracting a great deal of attention from
researchers and industry. These plastics are
designed to be completely Biodegradable.
• The polymer matrix is derived from natural
sources (such as starch or microbial grown
polymers), and the fiber reinforcements are
produced from common crops such as flax or
• Microorganisms are able to consume these
materials in their entirety, eventually leaving
carbon dioxide and water as by-products.
12. • Materials must meet specific criteria set out by the
ASTM and ISO in order to be classified as
• When examining polymer materials from a
scientific standpoint, there are certain ingredients
that must be present in order for biodegradation to
• Most importantly, the active microorganisms
(fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, etc.) must be
present in the disposal site.
• The organism type determines the appropriate
degradation temperature, which usually falls
between 20 to 60oC. The disposal site must be in
the presence of oxygen, moisture, and mineral
nutrients, while the site pH must be neutral or
slightly acidic (5 to 8).
13. Types Of Biodegradable Polymers
Biodegradable Polymers are basically divided
into two main classes :-
Naturally Occurring Biodegradable Resins
Biodegradable Synthetic Resins.
14. Naturally Occurring Biodegradable Resin
This category of material includes:
Polysaccharides e.g.- Starch from potatoes
Proteins e.g. –Gelatin, Casein from Milk,
Keratin from silk and wool, Zein from corn
Polyesters – Polyhydroxy Alkanoates formed
by Lignin, Shellac, Prolactic Acid
Materials such as jute, flux , cotton, silk.
15. Biodegradable Synthetic Resin
While there are number of degradable synthetic
resins, including: Polyalkylene , Esters , Polylactic
Acid Polyamide Esters , Polyvinyl Acetate,
polyvinyl alcohol, Polyanhydrides. The materials
mentioned here are those that exhibit degradation
promoted by micro-organisms.
16. The range of degradable plastics now available
Starch-based products including thermoplastic
starch, starch and synthetic
Aliphatic polyester blends, and starch.
Naturally produced polyesters.
Renewable resource polyesters such as PLA.
Synthetic aliphatic polyesters .
Aliphatic-aromatic (AAC) co polyesters.
Hydro-biodegradable polyester such as modified
Water soluble polymer such as polyvinyl alcohol
and ethylene vinyl alcohol.
Controlled degradation additive master batches
17. Applications of Biodegradable Polymers
Packaging Sector :-
• It is estimated that 41% of plastics are used in
packaging, and that almost half of that volume is
used to package food products.
• All levels of government, particularly in China and
Germany , are endorsing the widespread application
of biodegradable packaging materials in order to
reduce the volume of inert materials currently being
disposed of in landfills, occupying scarce available
18. BASF, a world leader in the chemical and plastic
industry, is working on further development of
biodegradable plastics based upon polyester and
starch. Ecoflex is a fully biodegradable plastic
material that was introduced to consumers by
BASF in 2001. The material is resistant to water
and grease, making it appropriate for use as a
hygienic disposable wrapping, fit to decompose
in normal composting systems. Consequently,
Ecoflex has found a number of applications as a
19. Environmental Polymers (Woolston,
Warrington, UK) has also developed a
biodegradable plastic material. Known as Depart,
the polyvinyl alcohol product is designed for
extrusion, injection molding, and blow molding.
Depart features user-controlled solubility in water,
which is determined by the formulation employed.
Examples include hospital laundry bags which are
“washed away” allowing sanitary laundering of
soiled laundry, as well as applications as
disposable food service items, agricultural
products, and catheter bags .
20. Biobags been used as Trash Bags or for Packaging
The Biobag is made up of cornstarch, biodegradable
and compostable polyester and vegetable oil and is
100% biodegradable and 100% compostable.
22. Agricultural Sector
- Agricultural applications for biopolymers are not
limited to film covers.
- Containers such as biodegradable plant pots and
disposable composting containers and bags are
areas of interest.
- Fertilizer and chemical storage bags which are
biodegradable are also applications that material
scientists have examined.
24. Medical Applications
- The medical world is constantly changing, and
consequently the materials employed by it also see
- The biopolymers used in medical applications must
be compatible with the tissue they are found in, and
may or may not be expected to break down after a
given time period.
- Mukhopadhyay (2002) reported that researchers
working in tissue engineering are attempting to
develop organs from polymeric materials, which are
fit for transplantation into humans.
- Work completed in this area includes the
development of biopolymers with adhesion sites that
act as cell hosts in giving shapes that mimic
25. Medical Applications of Biodegradable Polymers
Use of Biodegradable
Polymers as Scaffolds
for growing artificial
Biodegradable Polymeric Bandages
26. Automobile Sector
- Natural fibres are substituted for glass fibres as
reinforcement materials in plastic parts of automobiles
and commercial vehicles.
- An additional advantage of using biodegradable
polymer materials is that waste products may be
composted. Natural fibres (from flax or hemp) are
usually applied in formed interior parts. The
components do not need load bearing capacities, but
dimensional stability is important.
- Research and development in this area continues to
be enthusiastic, especially in European countries.
27. According to Prashant Yadav, of Tata
Technologies LTD, today Tata Motors are using
Biodegradable Composites in there cars door trim,
we can see its example in Indica Vista only.
Toyota Moto Corp. became the first automaker in the
world to use bioplastics in the manufacture of auto
parts, employing them in the cover for the spare tire
in the new.
Mitsubishi Motors Develops ‘Green Plastic’ ,
Bamboo-Fibre Reinforced Plant-based Resin for use
in Automobile Interiors; Cutting CO2 emissions
Throughout the vehicle Lifecycle Tokyo, Japan, Feb
28. Jute based bio-composite material is used in
Parcel Shelf in NANO and hood & firewall
insulation in VISTA.
Ford intend to replace 405 of Petroleum Based
Polyol to be replace with soya derived material.
Ford Flex – this crossover utility vehicle will be
the first to have in its interior wheat straw-
reinforce plastic as part of the third-row interior
29. STATISTICAL DATA ON USE OF
BIODEGRADABLE POLYMERS AROUND THE
WORLD AND IN INDIA:-
Despite the poor global economy, the
biodegradable polymers market grew in 2009 and
will continue to expand at an average annual rate of
13% through 2014, says report.
Despite the economic crisis, which hit the
chemical and plastics industry, the market for
biodegradable polymers did grow in 2009 in almost
all regions. In Europe, the largest global market,
growth was in the range of 5% to 10%, depending on
products and applications, compared with 2008.
30. In Japan, there has been some growth in
biodegradable polymers use as a result of government
and industry promoting their use. The rising prices for
petroleum and petroleum-based products have also
contributed to the replacement of petroleum-based
polymers with biodegradable polymers.
In Other Asian countries, biodegradable polymer
demand is expected to increase greatly in the next
several years. In China, high growth will be due to
several factors: an increase in production capacity,
demand for environmentally friendly products, and the
government’s plastic waste control legislation.
31. In the years 2000 to 2008, worldwide
consumption of biodegradable plastics based on
starch, sugar, and cellulose - so far the three
most important raw materials - has increased by
600 %.As predicted global annual capacity would
grow more than six-fold to 2.1 million tonnes by
2013.BCC Research forecasts the global market
for biodegradable polymers to grow at a
compound average growth rate of more than 17
percent through 2012.
32. BIODEGRADABLE POLYMERS OVER
Biodegradable materials are beginning to be
accepted in many countries. These materials are
thought to help the environment by reducing waste
issues. The two main reasons for using
biodegradable materials are, “the growing problem
of waste resulting in the shortage of landfill
availability and the need for the environmentally
responsible use of resources”. As the government
and many organizations are working to save the
environment, there is a definite advantage to making
biodegradable plastics more of a reality.
33. Conventional plastics have widespread use in the
packaging industry because biodegradable plastics
are cost prohibitive. Laws of supply and demand state
that increasing demand will drive costs down.
The world's production of plastics will surpass 300
million tons by the end of this year, consuming 8
percent of the world's annual oil production.
Approximately a third of those plastics are used in
disposable goods like takeout containers, plastic bags,
and product packaging, leading to a pretty huge pile of
About half a pound of plastic trash is produced per
person per day, and the disposal of all that garbage is
creating huge problems, considering that most
municipalities recycle only two out of dozens of types
34. The two most researched, and worrisome, additives are
BPA and phthalates. BPA is a hormone-disrupting
chemical used to keep polycarbonate plastic food
containers rigid, but it has been linked to a variety of
problems, including obesity, early puberty in girls
(which itself is a precursor to obesity), decreased levels
of testosterone and lowered sperm counts in men,
lowered immune responses, and aggressive behavior in
Like BPA, phthalates are hormone disruptors, though
they're used to keep plastics—usually vinyl—soft and
pliable. They've been definitively linked to increased
rates of asthma, and a number of studies have found
they interfere with male reproductive development and
could possibly play a role in obesity and insulin
35. Challenges Ahead…
Acceptance of biodegradable polymers is likely to
depend on four unknowns:
Customer response to costs that today is generally 2 to
4 times higher than for
Possible legislation (particularly concerning
The achievement of total biodegradability; and
The development of an infrastructure to collect,
accepts, and process biodegradable polymers as a
generally available option for waste disposal. They will
require separate collection, involvement of the general
public, greater community responsibility in installing
recycling systems, etc. Biodegradability is tied to a
specific environment. For instance, the usual
biodegradation time requirement for bioplastic to be
composted is 1 to 6 months.
36. Future Of Biodegradable Polymers
The Australian Government has paid $1 million dollars
to research and develop starch-based plastics.
Japan has created a biodegradable plastic that is made
of vegetable oil and has the same strength as traditional
The mayor of Lombardy, Italy recently announced that
merchants must make biodegradable bags available to
all of their customers.
In America, McDonald’s is now working on making
biodegradable containers to use for their fast food. Other
companies such as Bayer, DuPont, and Dow Cargill are
also showing interest in biodegradable packaging.
37. According to Dr. Mohanty, “demands for
biodegradables are forecast to grow nearly 16%
per annum.” This increasing interest will allow the
technology needed to produce biodegradable
plastics became more affordable and the falling
production costs will eventually lead to an increase
America and Japan show the greatest potentials
for the biodegradable markets. The estimated
amount of biodegradable plastics produced per
year is about 30,000-40,000 tons over the next five
From the long discussions and studying several data’s and
researches , there is no hesitation in accepting the fact
that Biodegradable polymer are giving a solid edge to
growing Plastic industry of today.
As we know that prices of Petroleum products are on a
hike, and also on the way to scarcity , since plastic is also
a product of petroleum therefore at this moment of time
Biodegradable Polymers are emerging as miracle to up
growing Plastic Industry. In addition to that Plastic is
facing a terrible opposition from society due to its non
degradability and causing hazards to this beautiful nature
& to human too as stated previously.
Biodegradable Polymers don’t only fulfill the purpose of
degradability but also gives Plastic Industry a new
positivity. Development of Biodegradable Polymers makes
plastic more eco friendly, greener and user friendly