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Published by Penka® on August 11, 2021

Types of Bio-plastics

The global production of the synthetic plastics of petrochemical origin has increased in the last decades. However, the great increase in its daily life applications has not been accompanied by good management for its disposal or degradation, estimating that plastic represents about 54% of anthropogenic waste in the environment. Therefore, the search for alternatives to this problem has shown great interest in the development of bio-plastics.

The fabrication of bio-plastics has had a significant growth. It is already common to see products made of bio-plastic materials in supermarkets and restaurants. However, there is still confusion between the terms used to describe them. This is because the prefix bio is associated with terms of biodegradability, bio-polymers, compostability, sustainability, renewable resources, among others. bio a términos de biodegradabilidad, biopolímeros, compostabilidad, sostenibilidad, recursos renovables, entre otros.

But, What is a bio-plastic? It is a polymer that has at least one of the next characteristics: 1) it is elaborated with raw materials of biological origin and/or 2) it is biologically degradable. Based on this, bio-plastics can be classified into three groups: 1) Degradable bio-plastics of petrochemical origin, 2) Degradable bio-plastics of biological origin and 3) Non-degradable bio-based bio-plastics.

Another classification that is given to bio-plastics is as biodegradable and compostable. Biodegradable plastics are those that have the ability to be fragmented by microorganisms into small parts until they consume them. On the other hand, Compostable bio-plastics can decompose in months into compost (nutrient-rich soil compost) and do not generate any waste or toxicity to nature.

There is a vast literature on the subject of bio-plastics, not to mention the endless applications in daily life (cutlery, cleaning supplies, office supplies, as part of household appliances, among others). We, as consumers, must review each of these products and know what we are buying. For example, how many times have we not seen people throw their fast food containers or cutlery on the floor, simply because they are "bio-plastics"? Without understanding that not all bio-plastics have the property of being biodegradable or compostable.

Our Penka straws are bio-based and biodegradable being an excellent sustainable alternative to traditional plastic straws. These products offer the same performance and, in addition, they reduce the carbon footprint.

By: Andrea Zambrano

Article published by Penka®

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