The Significance of Biodegradable Plastics to Sustainable Development of Plastics Industry

Plastic materials and products are playing an increasingly important role in various areas of the national economy and people's lives due to their excellent overall performance, lower prices, and ease of forming. However, in recent years, they have faced shortages of resources and environmental conditions. It has become more and more severe. How to reduce dependence on petroleum resources, implement a recycling economy, and maintain sustainable development have become a global hot topic in the plastics industry.

In the past few decades, the development of the plastics industry was mainly based on petroleum-based synthetic resins. However, oil is a kind of resource with limited resources and non-renewable resources. The price has skyrocketed in the past three years, which has brought a big impact on the plastics industry. At present, it has become an irresistible trend to research and formulate strategies for reducing and reusing resources and implementing oil resource replenishment and substitution strategies that use renewable resources to ensure the sustainable development of the plastics industry. At the same time, since plastic waste is less likely to degrade naturally in the environment, especially disposable plastic products are light, large, scattered, and messy, it is difficult to collect. As a result, environmental pollution is becoming increasingly serious. The censure of the department and the public has undoubtedly brought severe challenges to the developing plastics industry.

The biodegradable plastics industry, which began to develop in the 1990s, is currently becoming one of the effective ways for the plastics industry to alleviate the contradiction of oil resources and to control environmental pollution. The market prospect is very broad. In recent years, industrialized countries in the world have attached great importance to biodegradable plastics, especially biodegradable plastics whose raw materials come from renewable resources or industrial waste gas (such as CO2). According to reports, there are currently dozens of varieties of biodegradable plastics that are currently researched and developed globally. The types that can be mass produced and industrialized include: polyhydroxyalkanoates synthesized by microbial fermentation (PHA, PHB, PHBV, etc.), and chemically synthesized poly. Lactic acid (PLA), polycaprolactone, diol dicarboxylic acid aliphatic polyester (PBS), aliphatic/aromatic copolyester, carbon dioxide/epoxy compound copolymer (APC), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) And so on, natural polymer starch-based plastics and biodegradable plastic blends, plastic alloys and so on.

Although the history of R&D of biodegradable plastics is not too short, due to problems involving many disciplines, complicated technologies, and environmental constraints due to the return of natural speeds after use, coupled with its application performance, there are still some deficiencies and unfavorable factors such as higher prices. Since time has been stagnant in the R & D, pilot, pilot stage. Since the beginning of the 21st century, on the one hand, due to the pressure of resources and the environment, on the other hand, the United States NatureWorks, the world's largest biodegradable plastics producer, has made achievements in the promotion and application of PLA and lowering costs, bringing hopes to governments and scientific researchers in various countries. This stimulated the development and industrialization of biodegradable plastics.

At present, many countries’ governments have paid enthusiasm and policy support for their development. Many governments in Europe and the United States are embarking on a strategy to use renewable resources to supplement alternative oil resources. For example, in the United States formulated the strategic objectives for the development and utilization of renewable resources, at least 10% of the chemical basic products in 2020 will come from renewable resources based on plant/agricultural bases, and will increase to 50% by 2050. In order to reward the development and use of renewable resources, the US government has set up the President's Green Chemistry Challenge Award since 1996 to encourage the development of the biodegradable plastics industry. In 2002, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan proposed a biotechnology strategy outline and decided to formulate comprehensive research plans and policies for the comprehensive use of agricultural and forestry aquaculture wastes and food wastes for the production of bio-energy and bio-degradable plastics, in order to promote the depletion of raw materials for plastics. Since oil resources are transformed into renewable resources, research and development of biotechnology and biodegradable plastics in Japan are very active, and the industry can develop steadily and healthily.

In order to allow biodegradable plastics to enter the market as soon as possible, in recent years, countries such as Europe, the United States, Japan, and Japan have intensified their application and development and vigorously cultivated the market to accelerate the process of industrialization and practical application. NatureWorks has cooperated with more than 10 companies such as Mitsubishi Plastics, Mitsui Chemicals, and Chungchi Chemical, and has developed dozens of products such as food packaging, industrial packaging, electrical enclosures and fibers, medical non-woven fabrics, etc., and is gradually entering the market. In addition, by actively participating in large-scale activities with international influence, raising awareness of the biodegradable plastics in the society and nurturing markets, it has become an important means of promoting biodegradable plastics in the world. According to reports, biodegradable plastic packaging materials and tableware were used in the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics in Europe, the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, the Sydney Olympic Games in Australia in 2000, and the Aichi Earth International Expo in Japan in 2005. Recently, Wal-Mart, a large supermarket in the United States, has advocated the use of biodegradable plastic packaging containers at 90 chain stores to gradually increase consumer awareness of this product.

For China, a big producer and consumer of plastic products, the R&D, production, and application of biodegradable plastics are of greater significance to the sustainable development of the plastics industry. In the 21st century, China has also set off an upsurge in research and development of biodegradable plastics, and has made gratifying progress. At present, PHA (PHB, PHBV, PHBHHX, etc.), PLA, PBS, APC, modified PVA, etc. have entered pilot or mass production. Starch-based plastics, starch/PVA, PLA, PCL and other plastic alloys and blends. China’s “Eleventh Five-Year” Plan outlines the establishment of a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society as an important development goal. Under this trend, China’s relevant industry organizations and enterprises are actively making efforts to pass the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. Expand the application of biodegradable plastics, at the same time through the development of product standards, accelerate the application of research and strengthen international cooperation and other technical means to promote the biodegradable plastics industry into a fast-growing channel for the sustainable development of China's plastics industry to provide support.

Source: Alibaba Plastics Channel

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