You may have heard about biodegradable plastics, but you may be wondering which is the most environmentally friendly. The truth is that there are many different types of biodegradable plastics on the market today and they vary in their environmental impact. Here's a look at some of the options out there and what makes them better than traditional plastic products.
The most commonly used biodegradable plastics are made from starch. Starch is a natural polymer and is made from plants, so it's not a surprise that biodegradable plastic that uses starch can be composted in soil or water. Some examples of different biodegradable plastics made with starch include:
Starch is a polysaccharide, or a large carbohydrate molecule. It's made of many smaller sugar molecules linked together in long chains. Starch can be made from any type of plant material (or even animal tissue), and there are hundreds of different types that can be used to make biodegradable plastic. This means that it doesn't have to be soybeans, which makes it easier to find sources of renewable raw materials than many other types of bioplastics.
Biodegradable plastics are made from polymers that naturally break down through contact with water, or by the action of microorganisms. Biodegradable polymers can be made from plant-based materials such as starch, cellulose and chitin (the exoskeleton of insects).
These polymers are renewable resources and biodegrade much faster than conventional plastics, which are non-renewable resources. However, not all bioplastics are fully biodegradable—some can take months to years to break down completely. It is important to distinguish between “biodegradable” and “compostable” plastics; these terms aren't interchangeable! Compostable plastic is only one type of a group called "polylactic acid" (PLA) while bioplastic has more uses than just food packaging - it's used in clothing too! Bioplastics require less fossil fuel energy during manufacture than conventional synthetic materials; however they may contain harmful chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA), which poses health risks if ingested by humans or animals so proper disposal is necessary when disposing any waste containing this material
Corn, cassava, potato and wheat are the primary sources of commercial starches used for biodegradable plastics. Other sources include rice, sorghum, millet and barley. Starch is the most abundant carbohydrate on Earth; it is found in all plants that store energy metabolically as glycogen or at least part of their cells' storage polysaccharide (carbohydrate).
Starch-based plastics are made from waste products, which makes them compostable. However, starch-based plastics require special processes and additives to make them biodegradable.
Starch-based plastics can also be made entirely from waste products without requiring additional cropland to grow the crops needed for production.
Starch-based plastics can be made entirely from waste products without requiring additional cropland. Starch is a naturally occurring organic material that is produced in large quantities as part of the normal agricultural process and stored for subsequent use. In addition, starch and other plant-derived materials are found in the industrial byproducts of many manufacturing processes and have been used to produce biodegradable plastic from as early as the 1960s. These materials can be combined with other waste products such as cellulose to produce plastics that will degrade relatively quickly when disposed of in landfills or composted gardens without releasing toxic chemicals into the environment like petroleum-based products do.
Starch-based plastics are also able to take advantage of advances in food science; fruit juice concentrates like those made by Minute Maid® brand juices now provide an excellent source of water soluble carbohydrate that could easily replace traditional petroleum based polymers (plastics) used to make food packaging such as bags, bottles and cups!
The most environmentally friendly biodegradable plastics are starch-based plastics, which are compostable at both industrial facilities and in home composting units. Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic materials, turning them into a soil additive called humus. It's like a recycling center but with less sorting of the materials first. You can do it yourself or pay someone else to handle it for you. This can be helpful if you're not sure what items should go in your backyard composter, or when you want to make sure they get taken care of properly by professionals.
Starch-based plastics are also known as compostable plastics because they break down quickly when exposed to microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and worms (aka vermicomposters). Composting helps keep waste out of landfills by converting it into useful materials like soil amendments for landscaping projects or food sources for plants!
The confusion comes from the fact that most biodegradable plastics are made from starch, which is a naturally occurring polymer that can be made from plants such as cereals, roots, bulbs and tubers.
Corn, cassava, potato and wheat are the primary sources of commercial starches used for biodegradable plastics.
So, what is the most environmentally friendly biodegradable plastic? Well, it depends on what you need it for. If you're looking for a compostable plastic that can be used in home composting units or industrial facilities then starch-based plastics are your best bet. On the other hand if you're looking for something that will last longer and withstand harsh weather conditions then there are other options available such as polylactic acid (PLA) which breaks down into carbon dioxide and water after being exposed to sunlight over time.