Biopolymers and Their Application as Biodegradable Plastics
Plastics have gained widespread use because of their plasticity in form and function, and their benefits are wide-ranging. The drawbacks to petrochemical plastics are that they are considered to be biologically inert. This in turn represents a waste management problem, especially for plastic materials with a short use phase. Presently, the development of biodegradable plastics as an alternative to petrochemical plastics is seen as an important waste management option. Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are polyesters produced by the bacterial fermentation of sugars and lipids. PHAs have attracted commercial and academic interest because they are considered to be highly biodegradable. One of the most promising areas of application for PHAs is in the production of thin film materials for use as packaging materials. Presently, about 40 % of the plastics produced worldwide are utilised for packaging purposes. The disposable nature of packaging materials makes the use of PHA plastics an attractive alternative. As such PHAs may help to solve some of the waste management issues associated with single-use plastic items.
KeywordsNatural Rubber Packaging Material Life Cycle Analysis Natural Rubber Latex Waste Management Option
The author would like to thank Dr. V. C. Kalia for his critical reading of the manuscript. The author received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.
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