Bioplastic: pros and cons


A type of plastic derived from vegetable products, such as soybean oil, corn or potato starch, is denominated bioplastic , unlike conventional plastics, derived from petroleum.

The bioplastic is a plastic material derived from plants or biodegradable products. The decomposition of bioplastics can vary in time according to the materials from which it comes.

Bioplastic, types and varieties

There are many types of bioplastics that are very popular in the market. Some examples of bioplastics are:

– Bioplastic made from food crops such as corn starch, wheat, tapioca, potatoes, tomatoes, with commercial names such as: Bolice, Biplast, Cereplast compostables, Biotechnomais, Vegemat, Solanyl …
– Biodegradable plastic bioplastics for industrial applications (API),
– Bioplastics, obtained from sugars .
– PHA polyhydroxyalkanoates and derivatives: Polyhydroxybutyrate, polyidrossivalent, Polyisocyanurate
– Those made from cellulose as Biograde.
– Bioplastics derived from residues from the production of tomatoes.
– Bioplastics derived from the processing of waste banana

Bioplastic, applications

The applications of bioplastics are endless; like his “brother” less ethical to be derived from oil, as is the classic plastic.
The bioplastic has attracted the attention of various sectors, from agriculture toto automotive . Among the latest initiatives, Mazda has developed a sustainable plastic in collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemicals, for the production of interiors in the automotive sector.

Continuing with the initiative of Mazda and Mitsubishi, the Ford Motor Company, in collaboration with the HJ Jeinz Company, has developed an ad hoc solution for passenger vehicles , incorporating the bioplastic obtained through the processing of tomato waste, not only in the pieces of the interior of the vehicles , but also in supports for mechanical parts, cables and coatings for trays.
Bioplastic can also give rise to very particular fabrics , which is why it is also widely used in the textile industry and shoes . The ecological Flex shoes are an example.

Bioplastic, its advantages:

The advantages of using bioplastics are easy to imagine:

  • It is biodegradable, solves the problem of the long times that are required for the petroleum derived plastics.
  • Reduce the costs of waste management, especially if they are used on a large scale by the food industry.
  • Biodegradable yes, but also recyclable: can be used in the production of agricultural fertilizers.
  • The bioplastic is very hygienic and can be used for food packaging or for drinks and food to homes.
  • Less toxic gas emissions in case of incineration.
  • Effective cleaner of the production line ,they come from a hundred percent renewable raw material and less energy is needed for their production



Bioplastic, its disadvantages:

  •  Unfortunately, the bioplastics currently on the market are mainly made from flour or starch from corn, wheat or other grains and only a few bioplastics are derived from agricultural residues or food.
  •  Large-scale production of bioplastics could have a negative impact on food availability and cause price increases in food, such as bread and pasta.
  • On the other hand, according to a study carried out in Germany by the Federal Environmental Agency, biodegradable plastic does not provide any benefit to the environment compared to traditional plastic because the public is not prepared to dispose of it properly. According to the German research, the bioplastic, although biodegradable, does not end up in the proper composting systems because they are thrown into garbage dumps and kept in dry places that prevent biodegradation.
  • The majority of the population is unaware that to recycle the containers made they should not be mixed with conventional plastic.
  • It has a higher production cost in relation to plastic. However, in recent years the production process has been optimized to reduce costs and increase productivity.




Types of food packaging materials