What Does the Future Hold for Plastics?
Even though plastics are workhorse material in most industries yet they have made a
bad name for themselves for two reasons. One, it is made from petroleum materials and
secondly, they litter the environment. However, the volatile nature of oil price has
instigated a clamor for an increase in research into bioplastics. A key driver of the
packaging industry currently is the replacement of oil-based plastics to a renewable
source due to the depletion of oil.
Bioplastics currently account for around 1% of total world consumption of plastics.
Despite the low figure, the need and request for renewable, non-composite, durable and
recyclable product is increasing by the day. All this coupled with the fluctuation of oil
price and interest in social responsibility is taking research from the drawing board into
the laboratories and an expected mass production of bioplastics in the future.
One issue that has affected the spiral growth of bioplastics is the fear of individuals on
the price of food. Many bioplastics rely on food to make ethanol, this may end up driving
up the price of food. The masses are afraid that using food crops for bioplastics might
take the food out of their mouth as they cannot match the financial superiority of the
companies. However, experts are countering this claim neglecting that perception is not
The future of plastics is hinged heavily on bioplastics. Even the automobile industry is
moving away from non-renewable sources and the packaging industry will never be left