Bioplastics are made from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats
and oil. Bioplastics can be made from agricultural offshoots and also from
previously used plastic bottles and other containers that use micro organisms.
The most common plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics, are derived from
petroleum or natural gasses.
Some but not all bioplastics are designed to biodegrade. Biodegradable
bioplastics can break down in their environments, depending on how they are
manufactured. Bioplastics can be composed of starches, cellulose, biopolymers, and a selection of other materials.
At one time bioplastics were too expensive for consideration as a replacement for petroleum-based plastics.
However, the lower the temperature needed to process bioplastics the more
stable supply of biomass combined with the increasing cost of crude oil making bioplastics more pricy and competitive with regular plastics.
Bioplastics are used for disposable items such as packaging, crockery, cutlery,
pots, bowls, and straws. They are also often used for the production of bags,
trays, fruit and vegetable containers, egg cartons, meat packaging, vegetables,
bottling for soft drinks, dairy products.
These plastics are also used in non-disposable uses including mobile phone
casings, carpet fibres, insulation, car interiors, fuel lines, and plastic piping.