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corn starch based bioplastic

2023-11-15

corn starch based bioplastic is a eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastics derived from petroleum. It is made from a renewable resource, corn starch, and offers several benefits in terms of environmental sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Corn starch, which is abundant and inexpensive, serves as the main raw material for the production of this bioplastic. It is a complex carbohydrate derived from corn kernels. The process begins by extracting the starch from the corn, after which it undergoes a series of chemical reactions to obtain a polymer, known as polylactic acid (PLA). PLA possesses similar properties to traditional plastics, such as versatility, durability, and transparency, while offering the added advantage of being biodegradable.

One of the main advantages of corn starch based bioplastics is their reduced environmental impact. Traditional plastics, such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are derived from non-renewable fossil fuels and take hundreds of years to decompose. In contrast, corn starch based bioplastics degrade naturally within a few months to a few years, depending on the specific environmental conditions. This significantly reduces the accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, which has become a severe global issue.

Furthermore, the production of corn starch based bioplastics generates lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional plastics. The manufacturing process of bioplastics requires less energy and emits fewer carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, contributing to a smaller carbon footprint. In addition, corn plants, used to produce corn starch, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow, thus acting as a carbon sink. This further contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

Another advantage of corn starch based bioplastics is their versatility. They can be processed into various forms, including films, sheets, and molded packaging, making them suitable for a wide range of applications. This bioplastic can be used in the food packaging industry, disposable cutlery, agricultural films, textiles, and even in the medical field for sutures and drug delivery systems. Its ability to be tailored to specific requirements makes it an attractive alternative to traditional plastics for many industries.

However, corn starch based bioplastics also come with certain limitations. They are not suitable for applications requiring high heat resistance, as they tend to soften and lose their shape at relatively low temperatures. In addition, their mechanical properties, such as strength and durability, are generally lower compared to traditional plastics. This limits their use in applications that require high-performance materials.

To mitigate these limitations, ongoing research and development efforts are focused on improving the properties of corn starch based bioplastics. This includes the incorporation of additives and reinforcements to enhance their heat resistance, strength, and durability. Additionally, efforts are being made to reduce the cost of production, making these bioplastics more economically viable for large-scale applications.

In conclusion, corn starch based bioplastics offer a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution to the growing problem of plastic waste. They are made from renewable resources, degrade naturally, and emit lower greenhouse gas emissions. Although they have certain limitations, ongoing research and development are continually improving their properties and expanding their range of applications. As society strives for a more sustainable future, corn starch based bioplastics are poised to play a significant role in reducing our reliance on petroleum-derived plastics and preserving the health of our planet.