Bioplastic: A Short Overview of The Emerging Plastic Industry of Future
In the past, scientists used to invent many products to meet up our demands. But due to lack of attention to the harmful effects of those is causing danger to the world. Plastic is mainly produced from petroleum. But that is not degradable, and its trash is detrimental to our environment. Hence in this modern world of technology, the usage of Bioplastic is encouraged. This Bioplastic is degradable and is produced from biomass sources. Analysts are expecting that 90% of the total plastic will be Bioplastic. We are going to enter the new era of Bioplastic.
What is Bioplastic?
Bioplastic is a particular type of plastic that is produced from biomass sources, and the causes are renewable. This Bioplastic can be degraded. Hence, it is eco-friendly. Instead of petroleum sources, it is produced from food waste, starch, wood chips, straw and other sources like these.
What is the difference between standard plastic and Bioplastic?
Okay, the main feature of plastic which made the necessity of Bioplastic is that it is not degradable. On the other hand, Bioplastic takes some months to degrade. Bioplastic can be produced from biomass sources like corn, food waste, shrimps, fish scales, wood chips, etc. whereas regular plastic is petroleum-based. So, you can quickly realize that the production of regular plastic from natural sources will not last forever, as petroleum is not renewable. We will have to rely either on recycling or focus on Bioplastic. The first one is not a good option, you know. So, we have to think about Bioplastic seriously.
The demand for Bioplastic at this time
The market of Bioplastic is considered as one of the fastest-growing businesses And since Bioplastic is eco-friendly, the usage of Bioplastic is increasing flawlessly. The analysis says that the revenue of this market was about $6 billion in 2017, it is expected to be nearly $20 billion in 2024 with a CAGR of 16.2%. McDonald is using this biodegradable plastic to make cups, straws, containers, etc. Another interesting fact is Ford is using McDonald’s coffee waste to make their car parts! Not only Ford, Toyota, Mitsubishi are also using bioplastics in their cars.
When you are using Bioplastic in your brand, your brand value will be increased. Your concern about the environment becomes evident through your products. The conscious people would be interested in your brand products when you use this eco-friendly plastic. Realizing these points, day by day, the usage of this green plastic is increasing and becoming popular as well.
Applications of Bioplastic
It can be considered as the most popular usage of green plastic. There are many brands that are using this degradable plastic to pack their food products. Water bottles are being made from this plastic. Many fast-food shops and restaurants are using Bioplastic to make their cups, containers, lids, cutleries, etc. After using, this plastic doesn’t become harmful trash. Instead, you can get several advantages:
- Quick breakdown: It takes some months to some years to decompose this plastic completely as this plastic is made from biomass sources.
- Less carbon emission: During recycling, less carbon is emitted. This plastic is mainly produced from plant sources. You know that plants receive carbon dioxide from the environment to make their food. This carbon dioxide is stored in the plants. When the Bioplastic is made from these plants, the carbon dioxide is stored in this plastic. And during recycling, this carbon dioxide is being free. So, extra carbon dioxide is not produced. It is the same carbon dioxide that was consumed by plants in the past.
- Renewability: Another great advantage is that this plastic is renewable. The regular plastic is mainly petroleum-based which is not a renewable source. But when you are using biomass sources to make this green plastic, this becomes renewable obviously.
In the electronic industry
The use of electronic gadgets is increasing continuously as the population is rising, and almost all our activities are bringing under digitalization. And these used electronic devices are producing a massive amount of trash. As virtually all of these gadgets are made of regular plastic, this is becoming risky for the environment. Moreover, the recycling process of this plastic produces so much carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide that it has become a matter of global concern. Because this process fuels global warming.
Here comes the necessity of Bioplastic. There is a huge opportunity to use Bioplastic in electronic devices. The computer parts, phone cases, headphones, hairdryers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners- all can be produced from this eco-friendly plastic. In previous days, heat resistance was an issue. Because electronic devices provide high temperatures during the function. But the invention of heat resistant bioplastic has compensated this issue. Now Bioplastic can be a perfect alternative to traditional plastic in producing electronic devices.
In medical care
As technology is developing, its usage in the medical field is increasing. And modern technology has been fueled by the usage of plastic. But there’s a problem. The traditional plastic is not degradable and has toxic effects. So, it’s endangering the health of people. In this case, Bioplastic can play a significant role.
- There’s a lot of uses of the single-use devices in the medical field. Bio-based plastics can be used.
- Bio-based plastic sutures are now mainly used.
- Screws, pins used for bone treatment are made from this plastic.
- Dental implants are also made from this nowadays.
- Boxes and packets for tablets and ointments are made from this plastic.
Peels of capsules can be made from this plastic.
In the automobile industry
The vehicles are a great source of carbon dioxide. And it is happening in two ways. During manufacturing these automobiles and while running the cars by burning fuel. If you use Bioplastic in manufacturing vehicles, the carbon dioxide emission would be less. Using Bioplastic will lighten the vehicles, which will reduce fuel consumption. It is not only saving money but also protecting the environment. So, Bioplastic can be a suitable substitute for traditional plastic used in automobiles.
In the cosmetic industry
Nowadays, the market is significantly focused on the consumers, and they ensure that the consumers are provided with the best quality of products. When a product sealed with “Green technology” comes to a customer, s/he will find it more comfortable and safe. So, cosmetic industry trends to bioplastic usage.
Possibilities of bioplastic industry
If you check the current situation of the plastic industry, you will find it holds a tiny portion of the plastic industry. Still, now it is only 2% of the total production of plastic which is 300 million tones. But things are changing very quickly. The bio-based PET market is attracting so many investors.
The green revolution is fueling the production of Bioplastic. Coca-Cola announced that it would use 100% bioplastic in producing the bottles. This was 30% of the total green plastic in 2009. A bio-based plastic producing company, Renmetix has raised $14 million from a group of investors. They are led by Bill Gates, who sees a bright possibility of decarbonizing the industrial field.
For popularizing Bioplastic, it is becoming cheaper. Maybe that day is nearer when we will get most of our plastics as bioplastics. Today 8% of the total petroleum is used in producing plastic. But plants are going to become the primary source of plastic, the analysts say.
The graph above shows the rapid growth of the bioplastic market. Nowadays the government, as well as the general people, are becoming more concerned about the environment. France has already banned non-biodegradable plastic bags and containers. Some cities in the USA are also doing so. We can expect that this industry will expand more rapidly in the future.
How to start a Bioplastic manufacturing company?
When you are thinking about any startup, you should make a plan first. With a proper plan and foresightedness, you can make your business successful. In case of a bioplastic startup, you may follow the following checklist:
1. Plan at first
Calculate how much capital you will need. This capital includes land cost, building cost, labour cost, machinery cost, raw materials cost, etc. Plan about raising money from investors or bank account.
You will need a license. Besides, you will have to make a project report. In which you will discuss the present condition of the market and forecast the future of this industry, statistics, trends…This will help you to raise your capital.
3. Factory and machinery
After raising capital, you will have to buy or rent land and building for the factory. You will need workers. And of course, you will need machines. But remember, there are various kinds of various purposes; such as polylactic acid(PLA), polyethene terephthalate(PET), poly trimethylene terephthalate(PTT), polyhydroxyalkanoate(PHA) and so on. You have to make sure what bioplastics you will produce
4. Selling products to buyers
Remember, Bioplastic is about 2 times more expensive than traditional plastic. So, it’s not easy. But opportunities are increasing. In the Western, there is an excellent demand for Bioplastic. It’s your challenge to sell your products and build a brand.
The risks you will face in the bioplastic industry
Every business is a challenge. If there is no uncertainty in your business, you shouldn’t call it a company. However, the risks associated with the bioplastic industry are not negligible. It becomes easy to overcome the risks if you take proper steps from the beginning. So, take them seriously.
- They are costlier. It’s challenging to market a product of a high price where there is an alternative of low cost.
- There is an excellent chance of contamination during recycling bioplastic. If it is recycled with petrochemical plastic, it will become contaminated.
- Though it is produced from a renewable source, the source is not out of risk. The plants are not abundant sources like air. So, if the number of plants decreases due to the production of Bioplastic, it would be a matter of concern. And the output of Bioplastic can be a competitor of growing food. This is highly risky.
Big giants of bioplastic industry
BASF is a German-based chemical company. It is 2nd in producing chemicals in the world with a revenue of €60 billion. It supplies its products to 190 countries around the world. BASF provides all kinds of chemicals. Bioplastic is one of them. It developed a bioplastic enriched with a high quantity of polylactic acid(PLA).
The BioSphere is an American company that produces only biodegradable plastics. It produces about 5.8k metric tons of neoplastic every year. It published reports on the biodegradability of polyethene and polypropylene in 2012.
NatureWorks is an international company of which headquarters is situated in the USA. But it is owned by two companies: Cargill and PTT global chemical. However, it produces bioplastics. It also recycles Bioplastic.
Solegear Bioplastics (Good Natured Products Inc)
Solegear Bioplastics is a Canada based bioplastic company. It innovated technology to integrate the biopolymers. It has been working in the development of bioplastics. It has invested a lot in research to make a more durable, high quality and more energetic bioplastic. As a result, this bio-based company has won awards several times.
Avantium is an international company that researches vastly on the development of biochemical products. It points to renewable bio-based solutions. It has innovated YXY technology by which produced Polyethylene Furanoate(PEF).
Despite some risks, the bioplastic industry is expanding so fast. Because of the better characteristics of traditional petrochemical plastics, many giant companies are using this eco-friendly plastic. The environment concerned consumers are too much interested in using it despite its high price. It saves your money as well as the surrounding environment. So, it can be a suitable field to invest in. There are so many companies that are using petroleum to produce plastic. But the reserve of oil is going to disappear in the future as it is a limited source. That’s why many giant chemical companies are investing in Bioplastic. It is high time for entrepreneurs who are interested in the chemical industry to invest in Bioplastic. Maybe we are going to face a world using bioplastics to meet up most of the demand for plastics.