On our journey to a sustainable future there is an increasing demand for renewable raw materials. Biobased and bio-degradable plastics take an important place within the circular economy. 

Alan Koning

Alan Koning

07 juni 2021

The beauty of biobased plastics is that they're renewable in nature. Non-biobased packaging consists out of fossil oil which eventually runs out and need to be used more carefully. The raw-material of plastic packaging made out of fossil oil is not renewable. Wether in biobased plastics the fossil oil is replaced by a biomass part (renewable raw material). Examples of biomass parts are wood chips, corn starch, sugar cane, vegetable oil etc. These materials are also called a "drop-in", since the parts are the same and can one-on-one replace fossil raw materials.

In the plastics industry, bio-degradable is often being discussed. Plastics that are degradable by microbes and where biomass, water and CO2 remain as a residual product. These plastics have various options as raw materials, such as biomass, micro-organisms and petrochemicals, where it is also possible to combine these  materials as building blocks. Bio-degradable plastics are increasingly used in thin-walled packaging such as dishes and trays. The waste processing of products made of bio-degradable plastics does not take place in the recycling industry, but is doing right by the material when it's being composted. The challenge with composting this type of material is the ascending pocessing time, which delays the regular composting flow. So there is still a lot of work to be done in that area.op

A big misunderstanding is that biobased plastics are also biodegradable . This is not the case!
At this moment the availability of biobased PE materials is better than biobased PP materials. However, there are currently several developments going on in which biobased PP can be used on a larger scale. Biobased materials do well in the recycling process and are also suitable for the food processing industry.

A major barrier to the use of biobased plastics is the price. Nevertheless not all biobased plastics are more sustainable than the fossil alternatives. The added value for the envorinment strongly depends on the type of plastic and the application. The final stage of a packaging is also an important element to take into account. Unfortunately our waste collection, sorting and recycling are not yet seamlessly applicable to the use of all raw materials. Choosing the most sustainable raw materials for your packaging should be well-considered.

We love to help you on your journey making the right material choices for your packaging.