The biodegradable polymer is a type of polymer which can be decomposed by bacteria. These type of polymers are degraded by the micro-organism in a suitable period so that biodegradable polymers and its degraded products do not produce any severe effects on the environment. They degrade through oxidation and enzymatic hydrolysis. The decomposition reactions contains hydrolysis (either enzymatically comprised or by the non-enzymatic process) to non-toxic tiny molecules that can be metabolized by or can be evacuated from the body.
Examples of Biodegradable Polymers
Lactic acid is widely used and a well-known biopolymer in a number of industries. It occurs in two forms such as d-lactic acid and L-lactic acid. They can be formed in two ways, either chemically or biologically. In the biological process, the fermentation of the carbohydrates is done by fungi or Lactobacillus (bacteria). Lactic acid can also be formed by chemical chain reactions. One may experience this reaction in the body with tired muscles. Scientifically lactic acid is mostly used to produce cosmetic.
PHA (Polyhdroxyalkanoates) are a group of intracellular biopolymers manufactured by several bacteria as energy storage granules and intracellular carbon. PHAs are used in the industry of medical and packaging because of their biodegradability. A number of biodegradable polymers are sub-goods of petroleum resources. Aliphatic co-polyesters, polycaprolactone, and aromatic co-polyesters are some types of petroleum-related polyesters. All such polyesters are lenient resources at room temperature.
How is Biodegradable plastic made?
Biodegradable polymers can be decomposed by the activity of living organisms particularly bacteria. They could be tainted by microbial action to form natural end products such as carbon dioxide and water. The time period required to decompose entirely depends on the environmental conditions and material such as moisture, location, and temperature. It is also based on whether the plastic is produced from petrochemicals including biodegradable additives that improve biodegradation.
Such biodegradable polymers are composed of bio-plastics typically made from renewable raw materials of two forms such as solid and injection molded. Among these, the solid forms are utilized usually in items such as food containers, water bottles, and leaf collection bags. Traditional polymers are produced by using chemical fillers that are dangerous to the environment. Nonetheless biodegradable polymers are formed using natural plant materials such as orange peels, corn oil, plants, and starch. They do not comprise any types of chemical fillers which can pose a hazard to the environment.
Advantages of Biodegradable Polymers
- The nutrients and water are retained.
- The plant diseases and chemical inputs are suppressed.
- Biodegradable shopping and bags disposed of in land can enhance the rate of organic waste degradation.
- Methane reaping potential is also increased.
- Landfill space utilization is reduced. Biodegradable landfill covers can enhance landfill life significantly.
- The energy needed for manufacture and synthesize biodegradable polymers is much lesser for most biodegradable polymers than for non-biodegradable polymers.
- Biodegradable polymers also offer significant environmental benefits with the use of renewable energy resources and decreased greenhouse gas radiations.