In spite of the fact that plastic is one of the most significant environmental pollutants, environmentalists, governments, and politicians still find it difficult to manage the damage that plastic pollution is causing in today’s world. Plastic is the third most extensively used petroleum derivative, with annual global use of 200 million tonnes.
They have been referred to as Africa’s “new national flower” due to their ubiquitous appearance, and numerous nations have considered taxing them. By harming marine animals and birds that consume them (such as whales, sea turtles, albatrosses, etc.), these wastes also provide a serious environmental problem, similar to garbage patches. Does it still make sense to package items that are only meant to be used for a short period of time in containers that can take decades to decompose? Thus, scientists and researchers continually work to develop substitutes for ordinary plastic, one of which is Bioplastic.”
Bioplastics, which are renewable and biodegradable, can be utilized to lessen the issue of plastic waste, strangling the earth and polluting the ecosystem. Currently, bioplastics are used in disposable products, including packaging, containers, straws, bags, and bottles, as well as non-disposable items like carpets, plastic pipes, phone casings, 3D printing, automobile insulation, and medical implants.
The market for bioplastics is expected to grow from $17 billion this year to $44 billion by the year 2022. Bioplastics come in two primary categories. 1. Sugars from maize starch, cassava, or sugarcane are generally used to make PLA (polylactic acid). It is edible, biodegradable, and carbon-neutral. 2. Microorganisms that manufacture plastic from organic sources make PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), sometimes through genetic engineering. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything on earth, and the manufacturing and usage of bioplastics are no exception.
The positives include a smaller carbon footprint. They don't involve the consumption of non-renewable raw resources and they don’t have unhealthy compounds like bisphenol A or phthalates. The land needed for the production of bioplastics competes with that needed for food production because the crops used to make bioplastics can also be used to feed people. When bioplastics are not disposed of properly, they can contaminate batches of recycled plastic and harm recycling infrastructure. Since all bioplastics are not biodegradable, we must look into further alternatives to traditional plastic in order to address the issue of plastic pollution.