A sustainable alternative to traditional plastics, bioplastics are plastics that are fully or partially bio-based, and/or biodegradable or compostable. In other words, they are plastics that are made from renewable resources (plants like corn, tapioca, potatoes, sugar and algae), and they will break down faster than traditional plastics, which are typically made from petroleum, and other fossil resources such as natural gas.
The diagram of the processing of Bio plastic materials manufacturing
Bioplastics support the earth by offering a reduced carbon footprint, a reduced use of fossil resources, and improved end-of-life options. Bioplastic is a non-toxic alternative to traditional plastic.
The Revolution of Bio-plastics: These plastic materials have the same cycle time as traditional plastics but because the process requires significantly lower processing temperatures. Remarkably, bio-plastic materials can save up to 35% energy. In addition, these materials have more than two-thirds less harmful greenhouse gas emissions than oil based plastics during the same production process. With ongoing research at OSA, we continue our dedication to seeing that more and more of the plastic disposable items we use every day are fully biodegradable.
Many prevailing problems arise with the biodegradable additives being commonly used in Europe, USA and other regions around the world. First, the additives can only be used in very small amounts. Thus the structure of the plastic polymer cannot fully break down, leaving holes but never fully decomposing. Another downside of this packaging is higher production costs compared with conventional types of packaging (compared with recycling or virgin one). In addition, a major drawback of this type of packaging is that during the storage stage awaiting market use, the decomposing process can initiate prematurely with the oxidation agent. This does not even factor all the other negative effects since heavy metals are included in the manufacture of oxidation agents. This includes all kinds of threatening side effects to water pollution and land resources. Lastly a real threat of poisoning to consumers is real and plausible if this kind of packaging is used to store food.
Separate from the existing products on the market mentioned above, our plastic packaging is friendly to the environment. At OSA we have created a replacement to the typical oil-base or oxi-plastic mixture, instead we partially replace the conventional plastic materials, and add materials derived from plants and easily biodegradable.
The advantage of composite materials for new packaging is to contain high biodegradable fillers (> 45%wt) with the first availability to reduce production costs (compared to packaging made from 100% fossil polymer resins). The first advantage is that is will reduce the dependence on the typical plastic resin used in today’s packaging industry, which utilizes an oil resource injected into the extraction and exhaustion process. The second advantage as this material is also potentially faster for bio-degradable to plastic granules while coexisting with the type of plants filler. As a result the decomposition is quickly activated and fully maximized in a natural soil environment.
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As you can see by using these materials in the production of plastics, there are a number of real advantages provided to the producer. From the high rate of bio-based filler (>35%) to the usage of a non-staple food source starch, biobased pellets are designed to be a high quality, yet offered as a cost effective solution.
Our product packaging is available in Polyethylene (PE), Polypropylene (PP), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) or Poly(ethylene/vinyl acetate) (EVA) forms. By using a locally available tapioca starch source, our researchers have determined a way to reduce the biological decay time to just a few years while maintaining quality. Because of this, OSA’s bio-based pellets are compatible with the Japan Biomass PlA standard and is currently being certified by the United States Bio-Preferred program for bio-based products.
Using standard composting techniques, degradation occurs in 2-5 years rather than hundreds years degradation of conventional fossil plastic. Due to usage of this starch source in our production method, waste disposal by incineration releases 30% less greenhouse gases than traditional plastics. In addition, the starch source is less susceptible to devastating price swings like other biodegradable starches such as wheat, corn, and rice and is unlikely to become a major global foods staple.