Areas of Application PDF Print E-mail
What are bioplastics current areas of application ?

Bioplastics are generally used where functionality (fit for purpose) and environmental performance offer benefits. A purchasing cost surcharge can pay itself off when disposal or labour costs are lower. Market studies have revealed a generally very high consumer acceptance of bioplastics in many countries.

 

The following applications or product segments are exhibiting high growth rates:

  •     Compostable waste bags to collect organic waste and carrier bags, which can also be used as organic waste bags. They can increase the volume of collected organic waste, therefore reduce landfill, and improve the composting process and compost quality. Such bags – most of them are bio-based too - are often regarded to be a key market for bioplastics with regard to the sizeable market volume and valid arguments in favour of their use.
  •     Biodegradable mulch film which can be ploughed into the field once it has been used, offering the opportunity to reduce labour and disposal cost.
  •     Catering products for large events or service packaging for snack food sales. They can simply be composted after use along with any remaining food scraps. The available compostable product portfolio includes trays, cups, plates, cutlery and bags amongst others.
  •     Film packaging for foods with short shelf life which require attractive presentation, or to extend shelf life. These include compostable pouches, netting and (foam) trays for (organically produced) fruit and vegetables, and recently also fresh meat. The simple disposal and the fact that the sale period could in part be extended are beneficial to retailers. Spoiled foodstuffs can be recovered via composting with no need for separation of packaging and contents at point of sale.
  •     Rigid packaging such as containers and bottles. Bottles made from PLA are used for nonsparkling beverages and dairy products.
  •     Many other products make use of their specific functionalities, such as tyres with starch materials incorporated to reduce hysteresis and fuel consumption, diapers with silky softtouch back sheet, urns etc.

In the initial phase of market introduction, products are often used in niche markets. The level of technical complexity of bioplastics packaging is increasing: Co-extruded double or multiple layer film products have been commercialised recently. This involves an advantageous combination of bioplastics such as starch-based materials, cellulose films and PLA films, which are already available on the market.

The development of durable products such as those in consumer electronics (laptop and mobile phone casings etc.), in leisure (sporting shoes, ski boots etc.), and in the automobile industry (interior trim, spare tyre covers) is in an early state of market penetration. Japan is currently the main centre for this development. The focus is equally on functionality, for example low electrostatic charging, and sustainability criteria such as reduction of CO2 emissions.

In the field of medical technology, special biodegradable plastics have been in use for some time as stitching materials and for decades for screws or implants (niche products with extremely high prices).


GREEN POSSIBILITIES: Green Plastics for Electrical and Electronics Products

Electrical and electronics OEMs are looking more and more into exploring environmentally friendly material options along with the clear shift away from using halogenated content - and material suppliers are on hand with the answer to such challenges. Click here to read more.

 

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