“Drop-In” to a New World of Bio-Plastic

Cool Hive Daily - Market Monday
Understanding the world of environmentally friendly packaging can be hard to navigate yet very important. We are finding toxic polymers everywhere, including inside our bodies. There are a host of packaging materials out there that are biodegradable, degradable, compostable, Oxo-biodegradable, bio-derived and renewable. Each is an attempt to shift from conventional, non-renewable, fossil-based plastics into materials based on renewable resources so to prevent further increase in the dangerous plastic pollution now pervasive throughout our environment and food system.

"Drop-in" bioplastic, also known as bio-based plastics looks like and functions like a conventional plastic. Like conventional plastics they are not biodegradable or compostable but are instead fully recyclable. Having recently entered into the disposable packaging market it remains to be seen if it will clean up our mess.

Although these plastics are manufactured from renewable biomaterials such as corn and sugar cane through a process called fermentation it is still a polymer of sorts.The starch is extracted from the crops and used to create a "drop-in" replacement polymer for the oil-based polymers used in conventional plastic production. The good news is unlike other bio plastics these are are fully recyclable and have been designed to "drop-in" to the existing recycling systems without disrupting the quality or financial value of the recycling stream. This may help recycling companies get back on track as China has been refusing to take our recycling do to contamination and millions of tons of our recyclable trash in the past year has been ending up in the waste stream. So I would say, "Drop-in" plastics are one step of the many that need to be taken in the right direction. Article by Daisy Carlson, Photo by Velizar Ivanov. Quiet Innovation - Green Biz