Browse Definitions:
Definition

bioplastic

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A bioplastic is a substance made from organic biomass sources, unlike conventional plastics which are made from petroleum.

Bioplastics are made through a number of different processes. Some use a microorganism to process base materials, such as vegetable oils, cellulose, starches, acids and alcohols.

While almost all bioplastics produce less carbon dioxide in production than conventional plastics, they are not necessarily completely green. The methods by which their base materials are grown and the processing involved both impact their product footprint. Many bioplastics also release carbon dioxide or monoxide when biodegrading. Nevertheless, their overall environmental impact is typically lower than that of conventional plastics, and as oil costs rise, their cost becomes more and more competitive.

Some biodegradable bioplastics can break down in 180 days, given the right conditions. Others are not biodegradable at all. This capacity is desirable, for example, for outdoors applications where longevity and a reduced carbon footprint in production may be the goals.

Bioplastics, like petroleum-based ones, differ in make up to address different needs. The bioplastics used to make disposable cutlery, food containers, grocery bags, electronics casings and conductive bioplastics for electronics are all very different from one another.

Bioplastics were mainly developed in an effort to find a replacement for conventional plastics whose problems include:

  • They can take thousands of years to decompose.
  • Plastics are a major contributor to landfills and pollution, and especially problematic to sea life.
  • Conventional plastics are made from a non-renewable resource, petroleum, which is increasing in cost as it becomes more scarce.
  • Toxic and carcinogenic chemicals are used in their production, such as BPA and many other plasticizers.
  • Plastics have a large carbon footprint in both production and recycling.
This was last updated in January 2014

Continue Reading About bioplastic

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • PCAOB (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board)

    The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a Congressionally-established nonprofit that assesses audits of public ...

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

SearchSecurity

  • supercookie

    A supercookie is a type of tracking cookie inserted into an HTTP header by an internet service provider to collect data about a ...

  • email spam

    Email spam, or junk email, is unsolicited bulk messages sent through email with commercial, fraudulent or malicious intent.

  • distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack

    A distributed denial-of-service attack occurs when an attack originates from multiple computers or devices, usually from multiple...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS)

    One approach to a strong disaster recovery plan is DRaaS, where companies offload data replication and restoration ...

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

SearchStorage

  • GlusterFS (Gluster File System)

    GlusterFS (Gluster File System) is an open source distributed file system that can scale out in building-block fashion to store ...

  • virtual memory

    Virtual memory is a memory management capability of an OS that allows a computer to compensate for physical memory shortages by ...

  • yottabyte (YB)

    A yottabyte is a measure of theoretical storage capacity and is 2 to the 80th power bytes, or, in decimal, approximately 1,000 ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive)

    A PCIe SSD (PCIe solid-state drive) is a high-speed expansion card that attaches a computer to its peripherals.

  • SSD caching

    SSD caching, also known as flash caching, is the temporary storage of data on NAND flash memory chips in a solid-state drive so ...

  • NVDIMM (Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module)

    An NVDIMM (non-volatile dual in-line memory module) is hybrid computer memory that retains data during a service outage.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close