Synthesis and commercialization of bioplastics: Organic waste as a sustainable feedstock

Anjaly P. Thomas, Vara Prasad Kasa, Brajesh Kumar Dubey, Ramkrishna Sen, Ajit K. Sarmah

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Substituting synthetic plastics with bioplastics, primarily due to their inherent biodegradable properties, represents a highly effective strategy to address the current global issue of plastic waste accumulation in the environment. Advances in bioplastic research have led to the development of materials with improved properties, enabling their use in a wide range of applications in major commercial sectors. Bioplastics are derived from various natural sources such as plants, animals, and microorganisms. Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a biopolymer synthesized by bacteria through microbial fermentation, exhibits physicochemical and mechanical characteristics comparable to those of synthetic plastics. In response to the growing demand for these environmentally friendly plastics, researchers are actively investigating various cleaner production methods, including modification or derivatization of existing molecules for enhanced properties and new-generation applications to expand their market share in the coming decades. By 2026, the commercial manufacturing capacity of bioplastics is projected to reach 7.6 million tonnes, with Europe currently holding a significant market share of 43.5 %. Bioplastics are predominantly utilized in the packaging industry, indicating a strong focus of their application in the sector. With the anticipated rise in bioplastic waste volume over the next few decades, it is crucial to comprehend their fate in various environments to evaluate the overall environmental impact. Ensuring their complete biodegradation involves optimizing waste management strategies and appropriate disposal within these facilities. Future research efforts should prioritize exploration of their end-of-life management and toxicity assessment of degradation products. These efforts are crucial to ensure the economic viability and environmental sustainability of bioplastics as alternatives to synthetic plastics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167243
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume904
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023

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