Origin of bioplastic
In the majority of cases, bioplastics today are obtained from biomass, they are therefore called biobased (as per the standard EN 16575: 2004. Certain biodegradable polymers are still obtained from fossil fuels, but only a few (PBAT and PCL primarily). The biomass used for manufacturing biobased polymers is predominantly renewable and sourced from different activities like agriculture or the agro-food industry. In the various steps of processing the biomass, bacterial fermentation of sugars from various origins is the key point. It is through these procedures that the building block molecules for green chemistry are obtained, which can be used as monomers for producing biobased polymers.
The various categories of origins of bioplastic
1st generation (food)
Vegetable oils: soybean, palm, sunflower, colza, etc.
Starch: corn, wheat, potato, tapioca, etc.
Glucose: sugar cane, beetroot, etc.
2nd generation (non-food)
Lignocellulosic biomass: wood, by-products or waste material from agriculture or wood (bagasse from sugarcane, straw, etc.)
Non-food vegetable oils: castor beans and wastes from other vegetable oils production
3rd generation (non-food; soil-less farming)
Sugars or oils produced by micro-organisms: Micro-algae, bacteria, mushrooms, yeasts, etc.
Municipal waste material: organic waste, waste water, etc.
Today, the main resources are from cereal resources (cornstarch or hydrolysed wheat) or directly obtained from the sugar industry (sugarcane, beetroot, molasses).