Biodegradable Plastic Manufacturers

biodegradable vs Non-biodegradable-Bioplastics

What are Bioplastics?

Bioplastic Manufacturers

Currently there are several large, small and start-up chemical companies manufacturing bioplastics and convert naturally renewable resource polymers into degradable materials. If you are a plastic manufacturer, or an organization looking for greener polymers, you could find useful information for bioplastic compounds here.  (If you are looking for information on products that are made of bioplastics, they can be found here).

A short list of several renewable agricultural resource bioplastic manufacturers and their products are listed below.

 

Trade Name                                        Product Type    Bioplastic Manufacturer
Biocycle PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Copersucar
Biomer L PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Biomer
CPLA

 

PLA (Polylactic acid, Polylactide) based Dainippon Ink Chem
Ecoloju PLA (Polylactic acid, Polylactide) based Mitsubishi
Eco Plastic PLA(Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Toyota
Enmat PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Tianan
Heplon PLA (Polylactic acid, Polylactide) based Chronopol
Lacea PLA (Polylactic acid, Polylactide) based Mitsui Chemicals
Lacty PLA     (Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Shimadzu
L-PLA PLA     (Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Purac
Mirel PHA (PHB polyhydroxybutyrate, PHBV-polyhydroxybutyrate/hydroxyvalerate) based Telles – ( a joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM))
Nature Works PLA     (Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Cargill-Teijin
Nodax PHA (PHBHx, PHBO, PHBOd Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Procter & Gamble (USA)
PLA PLA     (Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Galactic
Pullulan Pullulan Hayashihara
Treofan PLA     (Polylactic acid, Polylactide)  based Treofan

 

Biodegradable Plastic Manufacturers with Petroleum Based products:

In addition to these, there are bioplastics that are manufactured with either with conventional petroleum based polymers or by adding renewable resource content to the conventional polymers to get biodegradable and/or compostable plastics.

Trade Name                Product Type                          Bioplastic Manufacturer

BAK                            Polyesteramide (PEA)                        Bayer

Bioflex                                    Starch-polycaprolactone (PCL)-Blend          Biotech

Bionolle 1000 Aliphatic Polyesters Poly(butylene succinate) Showa Highpolymer

Bionolle 3000 Aliphatic Polyesters (PBSA, poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate))                    Showa Highpolymer – Japan

Biomax® TPS                        (ThermoPlastic Starch, 85-90% renewable content)           DuPont

Biomax® PTT ((polytrimethylterephtalate, 35% renewable content)           DuPont

Biomax           Poly(butylene succinate terephthalate)                                 Dupont

CAPA                          Polycaprolactone (PCL)                 Solvay

Celgreen                     Polycaprolactone        Daicel

Easter Bio       Aliphatic-Aromatic Copolyester       Eastman

Ecoflex           Aliphatic-Aromatic Copolyester                               BASF

EnPol              Aliphatic Polyester (PBSA, poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate))              IRe

Lunare SE       Aliphatic Copolyesters           Nippon Shokubai

Mater-Bi         Starch- polycaprolactone (PCL) blend          Novamont

Mater-Bi         Starch-Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) blends    Novamont

Novon             Starch-Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) blends    Chisso Corp / Warner Lambert

Skygreen         Aliphatic Copolyesters (PBSA poly(butylene succinate-co-adipate)) SK Chemicals

Sorona                         37% renewable content          Dupont

Tone                Polycaprolactone (PCL)                 Union Carbide

 

 

Ecoflex® Bioplastics – Biodegradable Plastics from BASF

Ecoflex®  is a biodegradable and compostable plastic made by BASF.  Ecoflex®  exhibit properties similar to LDPE, and is recommended to be used in trash bags or disposable packaging applications as it can degrade within few weeks in a suitable environment.

Mirel bioplastics by Telles : Biodegaradable plastics from Joint venture between Metabolix, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company

Telles, the joint venture between Metabolix, Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland Company produces Mirel™, a family of  polyhydroxy alkanoated based bioplastic materials.  Telles has manufactured several grades of Mirel including injection molding, blown and cast film, and cast sheets grades.

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Starch Based Biodegradable Plastic Manufacturers and Suppliers

Startch Bioplastics

Starch Based Bioplastic Manufacturers and Suppliers

Trade Name Product Type Plastic Manufacturer
Bioflex Starch-Polycaprolactone (PCL)-Blend Biotech
Biomax® TPS (ThermoPlastic Starch, 85-90% renewable content) DuPont
Mater-Bi Starch- Polycaprolactone (PCL) blend Novamont
Mater-Bi Starch-Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) blends Novamont
Novon Starch-Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) blends Chisso Corp / Warner Lambert

 

Starch Based Bioplastic Products – Green Cell Packaging Products

KTM Industries has manufactured and introduced starch based packaging and insulation products.  The process involves extruding starch with water (which acts as the plasticizer) and a blowing agent to get a foam product with controlled cell structure, resilience and barrier properties.

Their green bioplastic products include Green Cell Foam™ insulated cooler which provides excellent cushioning and environmental benefits.  The Green Cell Foam™ insulated cooler can be used to fully insulate dry ice and gel ice, and biodegrades within 60 days in a suitable environment.

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Starch based Bioplastics

Starch based Bioplastics

One of the most abundant renewable resource biodegradable polymers found in nature is starch.  These natural polymers can be derived from various agricultural resources including corn, wheat, and potatoes.  Starch polymers are usually found as micron sized granules, and are made of amylose and amylopectin.

Startch Bioplastics

Startch Bioplastics

As shown in above figure, amylose is a linear polymer with 200 – 2000 of anhydroglucose units. Amylopectic is is a brached polymer and contains 20- 30 anhydroglucose units.  The relative ratio of amylase and amylopectim in starch granules could vary with the source.  The highly ordered structure causes the starch granules to be highly crystalline.

 

Depending on the performance properties of the target product, starch can be blended with other renewable resource or conventional polymers.  For example, Mater Bi biodegradable bioplastics are made by blending starch with Polyesters.  Over the years, research was devoted to get starch based thermoplastics with better properties.  Errec et al has reported improved mechanical properties of starch thermoplastics that were blended with castor-oil-based polyurethanes.

Applications of Starch based bioplastics include disposable products such as shopping bags, bread bags and bait bags.

 

Yongshang Lua, Lan Tighzerta, , , Patrice Doleb and Damien Errec. Polymer, 46, (23, 14), 2005, 9863-9870

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Biodegradable Plastic Products: Natural Polymer Products

Biodegradable Plastic Products: Natural Polymer Products

Biodegradable Products: Natural Polymers

 

Biodegradable Plastic Products: Natural Polymer Products

Biodegradable plastic products including natural polymers have received the attention of various disposable product type applications including consumer products, packaging products, adhesives, inks, coatings and construction materials such as agricultural mulch.

Bioplastics found applications in consumer goods includes cutlery, straws, plant pots, fishing lines, credit cards and mats.  Also, biodegradable products are widely used in the packaging field such as bottles, buckets, caps, bags, films, and twines etc.

Adhesives, inks, and coatings manufacturers are also acquiring green polymer chemistry in to their products.  They are widely used in adhesives and sealants, printing inks, paints and varnishes to name a few. Further, these eco friendly products are also used in producing agricultural mulch and blasting media.

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Bioplastics: Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymer Manufacturers and Suppliers

Polyhydroxyalkanoate Polymer Manufacturers and Suppliers

Plastic Manufacturers

A short list of several renewable agricultural resource PHA bioplastic manufacturers are listed below.

Trade Name Product Type Manufacturer
Biocycle PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Bioplastic Copersucar
Biomer L                                     PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Polymer Biomer
Enmat                                     PHA (PHB, PHBV Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Natural polymer Tianan
Mirel PHA Bioplastics Telles – ( a joint venture between Metabolix and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM))
Nodax PHA (PHBHx, PHBO, PHBOd Polyhydroxy alkanoate) based Biodegradable plastics Procter & Gamble (USA)
Pullulan Pullulan Hayashihara
Tirel PHA (PHB polyhydroxybutyrate, PHBV-polyhydroxybutyrate/hydroxyvalerate) based Biodegradable Polyemers Metabolix/ADM

 

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Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymer Applications

Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymer Applications

Biodegradable natural polymers such as PHB , PHBV and their copolymers are used in biomedical applications including sutures, pins, rods and drug delivery systems.

Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymer Applications

Biodegradable Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymer Structure

Polyhydroxyalkanoate Biodegradation

Depending on the composition, bacterial bioplastics degrade in about 1-6 months.  When exposed to enzymes or to the natural microorganisms in the environment, these natural polymers could undergo enzymatic hydrolysis or chemical hydrolysis yielding carbon dioxide and water.  The major factors that influence the degradation includes the chain composition, sample structure, thickness, crystallinity, morphology, temperature and pH.

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Biodegradable Bioplastics: Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymers

Biodegradable Bioplastics: Polyhydroxyalkanoate Natural Polymers

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)s natural polymers have become one of the widely emerging bioplastics to be used in commercially applications, and are known as microbial polyesters or bacterial plastics.  PHAs belong to a family of biopolyesters produces by various microorganisms to yield polyesters with varying side-chain lengths. In addition to their biodegradability and biocompatibility, another widely recognized characteristic to PHAs includes chirality.  They exhibit highly stereoregular polymer backbones with R configuration.

Polyhydroxy alkanoate

Polyhydroxy alkanoate biopolymer structure

Figure 1: General structure of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) Polymer Materials.

Poly-b-hydroxybutyrate (PHB) and poly(hydroxybutyrate-co-hydroxyvalerate)  polymer materials are the most studied polymers due to their attractive properties.  Depending on the type of microorganism, carbon source that the cells are grown on, fermentation conditions including the types of enzymes used.   The final properties of the PHAs primarily depend on the monomer composition, and monomer with C3-C5 typically yields thermoplastics, while C6-C14 chain length monomers yield elastomeric polymers.

PHB natural polymer is a melt processable, hydrophobic,  semi-crystalline polyester that  resembles properties of conventional thermoplastics such as polypropylene and polyethylene. As PHB is almost 80% crystalline, it exhibits a high melting point.  It has an excellent resistance to organic solvents, however its applications are limited due to its high stiffness and brittleness. Further, at processing temperatures, PHB tend to degrade rapidly minimizing its usefulness further.

poly (3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) (P(HB-co-HV)) is commercially available polyester (BioPolTM), and less stiff and brittle than PHB homopolymer, making it easier  to process.

PHAs can be modified to get less crystalline and improved physical properties by blending them with various other polymers such as polysaccharides, polyvinyl alcohol, polycaprolactone and polyvinyl chloride.

Miscibility of PHB with various polymers

Polylactic acid  (PLA) – immiscible

(PHBV) – miscible depending on the PHBV content

Polycaprolactone (PCL)  – immiscible

Polyethylene glycol (PEG)  – miscible

Polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) – miscible depending on the PVOH content

Poly(ethylene oxide) – miscible

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Bioplastics: Polylactide-co-glycolide Copolymers

Bioplastics: Polylactide-co-glycolide Copolymers

Polylactide (PLA), polyglycolide homopolymers (PGA), and polylactide-co-glycolide copolymers are the predominant biodegradable bioplastics that found applications in the biomedical field.

Biodegradable plastics

Biodegradable plastic Materials. poly(lactide-co-glycolide)_synthesis-Scheme

Earliest applications of these resins include sutures, bona fixation devices and scaffolds.  Due to the fine tuneability of the degradation rates depending on the molecular weight, molecular architecture and crystallinity, these polymers were extensively researched during the past few decades.

Polylactide-co-glycolide Bioplastic Degradation

Biodegradable polymers have become part of the solution to the growing problem of polymer waste management. Thus, many major plastic manufacturers have opened a product line with bioplastics mainly for disposable products including cutlery items, packaging films, and disposable grocery bags. However, to maximize the benefits, public needs to be educated on their proper disposal procedures.  This is due to the fact that in order to biodegrade rapidly, these resins have to be exposed to proper conditions such as in a composting facility.

The degradation behavior of biodegdarable polymers is also a very important in medical field especially in tissue engineering, and drug delivery. The polymers degradation behavior under biotic or abiotic conditions, non-toxicity of the degraded by-products, and mechanical strength are considered to be highly important in selecting the polymer for a special application. For example, in biomedical applications, if the polymeric material or its byproducts causes issues such as inflammation or infection, it couldn’t be used even the other properties are properly designed.

Polylactide-co-glycolide copolymers are one of the highly studied copolymers for biomaterial applications.  They can be copolymerized to get various molecular architectures to get a range of mechanical properties and degradation rates. Owing to the methyl group in PLA, they are more hydrophobic than PGA. Thus, PLA products degrade much slower in vivo by hydrolysis than PGA materials.  The degradation could takes from weeks to years depending on the initial polymer properties including, the molecular weight, crystallinity, shape and size, as well as the molecular architecture. Further, the carboxylic acid end groups may also auto catalyze the degradation.

References:

  1. Carothers, W.H.; Dorough, G.L.; Van Natta, F.J. The Journal of American Chemical Society 1932, 54, 761-772.
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Biodegradable Plastics :Polylactic Acid Biopolymer Applications

Biodegradable Polymers :Polylactic Acid Applications

Polylactic acid biodegradable plant based polymeric based materials have shown various advantages over the conventional polymers. For example PLA fibers can be processes at lower temperature than PET fibers, lowering the energy input. Further, PLA based products can be processed using traditional operating equipments including blow molding, injection molding and extrusion.

Polylactic acid biodegradable plastics are widely used in variety of applications including drug delivery, structural support and in fibers and films.  Use of PLA based materials in medical applications including sutures, pins, rods are known for decades. Currently, PLA has found applications in food handling products such as lids, trays and paper coatings, packaging films, and fibers for textile products.

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Polylactic acid properties

Polylactic acid properties

Crystallinity of polylactic acid resin depends on the relative proportions of the L- and D-Lactide in the polymer backbone.  Higher the optically pure monomer content, higher the crystallinity. The melting point of PLA could range from 140 – 185 C, and a blend of Pure PLLA and PDLA could reach as high as 230 C.

As you can see from the following Figure, PDLA can be synthesized starting from D_lactide, using special catalysts.

Synthesis-of-D-Lactide

Synthesis-of-D-Lactide

Mechanical properties of polylactic acid depends on the molecular weight, molecular architecture as well as the degree of crystallinity.

Synthesis-of-L-Lactide

Synthesis-of-L-Lactide

PLA resembles most of the properties on conventional thermoplastics including PET, and polystyrene (PS), opening possibilities to replace petroleum based thermoplastics in many applications.

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