Plastic pollution is one of the biggest climate-related problems mankind has. So what are your options? A bioplastic machine can help create an alternative to traditional plastics. Bioplastics, differently from regular plastics, don’t cause environmental contamination. Also, they don’t contain harmful additives. Even with these benefits, the annual production of bioplastics is still less than one percent of all plastic making. However, the market is witnessing steady growth due to a rise in demand.
Tell us about your production challenge
Production challenge: compounding bioplastics in a bioplastic machine
Bioplastic processing can be quite challenging, especially at the compounding stage. The wide range of available base polymers and differences in formulation makes it difficult to design a material handling and feeding system. For the final product to meet the required standard, you must set every process in the bioplastic machine to precision to avoid production loss.
However, technological developments in the compounding process make the process less challenging. One of them focuses on easily processing bioplastic polymer compounds through twin-screw extrusion. They increase the mixing efficacy of different components, providing a homogeneous result.
Is bioplastic completely better than plastics?
Bioplastics are indeed eco-friendly. They reduce fossil fuel usage and lower the release of toxic emissions. Moreover, their production significantly lowers the amount of non-biodegradable waste that pollutes the environment. In addition, they have a higher permeability to water vapor and do not change the taste of the food they contain. Bioplastic bag making machines also make softer and more tactile bags for cosmetics packaging.
However, the properties of some bioplastics, such as thermal instability, difficult heat saleability, brittleness, low melt strength, limit their use as a film in food packaging applications.
Another downside and worry in the production of bioplastics is their impact on agriculture and biodiversity. It competes with food production for agricultural resources such as corn or sugar cane and utilizes a large portion of agricultural land.
The current trend in bioplastic manufacturing
Bioplastic is only likely to grow at an average of 3% relative to 3.5%-4% for polyethylene, polypropylene, and other plastics. The major factor contributing to this is the high cost of production. They cost twice or three times as much as conventional plastics. Another factor is the high competition for agricultural materials. In addition, some bioplastics have a shorter lifetime than traditional oil-based plastics due to their brittleness poor mechanical and barrier capabilities.
However, carbon emission taxation and single-use, fossil-based plastic bans already implemented in European countries such as France and Belgium may help boost the bioplastic industry by reducing the production of traditional plastics.
Lifespan of bioplastics
The longevity of a bioplastic depends on its end uses. For instance, for foods with a shelf-life of less than six months, opt for bioplastics with high biodegradability, including starch and cellulose. For foods with about five years shelf life, use options such as Polylactic acid (PLA). It takes a long time to biodegrade and undergo recycling. However, it is not advisable to store water-sensitive products in PLA for a prolonged period. Regardless of duration, bioplastics can be disposed along with other organic household waste. Microorganisms break them down into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass at the same rate as other organic materials.