Are, PLA based Bioplastic substitutes we're looking for to replace the traditional old petroleum-based plastics? The Bioplastics have the features of plastics and are biodegradable. Then why we aren't using them everywhere?

July 10, 2019

PLA based Bioplastics Vs. Areca Vs. Bagasse

Updated On: Aug. 7, 2019

What are Biodegradable Plastics or Bioplastics?

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is different than most thermoplastic polymers in that it is derived from renewable resources like corn starch. The plastics that are derived from the biomass are known as the Bioplastics. The bioplastics made from plant-based polymers are 100% compostable and degrades in a few months at the composting facility.

Why is PLA the most commonly used polymer to make Bioplastics?

Polylactic Acid is biodegradable and has characteristics similar to polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), or polystyrene. It can be produced from already existing manufacturing equipment (those designed and initially used for petroleum plastics). The PLA relatively cost-efficient to produce and has the second largest production volume of any bioplastic

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Bioplastics?

PLA is one of the plastics used for 3D printing as its lower melting point produces sharper edges.

The bioplastics parts made for the surgery. They can be left in the body, which slowly degrades by our immune system.

The Corn-based bioplastics are used to manufacture food packaging containers, cutlery, burger boxes.

The traditional PLA isn't ideal for high heat applications such as the coffee cup lids because of the low glass transition temperature, also known as the softening temperature.

Though the new PLA has been developed with the higher softening temperature and its been used to manufacture disposables such as cutlery, and containers.

Why plant-based Cornstarch Disposables are slightly expensive?

The petroleum-based plastics had many years to develop and are cheaper simply because petroleum is cheaper. The higher demand, production, and scalability makes the conventional plastics more affordable. With the right policies, better technology, and awareness Bioplastics production cost can be brought down.

With the ban in the use of petroleum-based plastics and with the growing awareness, people are shifting to better alternatives such as the Bioplastics and the demand for the biodegradable is increasing.

With the growing demand, we can see the growth in technology and investment in the field of Bioplastics manufacturing. The Bio plastics manufacturing units has increased, and the variety of biodegradable containers are more as compared to the last year.

How Cornstarch Disposables Eco-Friendly?

Annually we generate million tons of plastic waste which goes to the landfill or the oceans. The small percentage of plastic gets recycled. The plastic takes thousands of years to decompose. The Biobased plastics might be the alternative. And the Cornstarch disposables made from the plant-based polymer is known as PLA is relatively standard these days.

Cornstarch Clamshell is the containers with the lid attached to it on one end. The 600ML and 1 Liter containers are relatively standard and work well for all the food items.
Cornstarch Cup with the Lid is the new addition to the family of Biobased disposables. The cup/glass comes with the lid and is used to pack and deliver cold beverages such as Milkshakes, Juices.
Cornstarch Bioplastic Bags are the perfect substitute for the traditional plastics and are used at the retail stores, supermarkets. The biodegradable garbage bags in various sizes are available too.
5 Compartment Cornstarch Meal Tray is the ideal choice to pack and deliver meals to the customer. The biodegradable meal trays perform better than the petroleum-based plastic meal trays, and the lid seals the tray as good as any other plastic meal tray.

Why is not everyone using Corn-based PLA Disposables?

The PLA disposables such as containers, cutlery have most of the features of Plastics and are biodegradable too then why not government promote it. The Corn-based bioplastics need to be sent to the composting facility where temperature level can reach to 50-degree Celsius for the PLA containers to biodegrade faster. In India, we don't have the sufficient composting system for Bioplastics.

Does it mean we shouldn't use the Corn-based containers? The logical answer to the question is Why Not?

The Bioplastic container will take much longer time to compost if they aren't sent to the proper facility to fully decompose but are still much better substitute to the regular plastics.

The best approach in the perfect world will be not to use any of the plastics for now. The disposables made from the Areca and Bagasse doesn't have the same composting problem but have their own set of limitations. The practical approach to switch to Corn-based disposables if you don't find the proper alternative in Areca or Bagasse.

Biodegradability 7/10 10/10 10/10 10/10 0/10
Recyclable 5/10 0/10 0/10 7/10 7/10
Easy to Use 8/10 6/10 7/10 8/10 9/10
Variety 4/10 5/10 7/10 8/10 10/10
Eco-Friendly 7/10 10/10 8/10 7/10 0/10
Affordability 8/10 7/10 7/10 9/10 10/10