Bioplastics is a concise and appropriate name for biodegradable plastics whose parts are composed entirely or almost entirely from renewable biomass sources. Traditional plastics, such as plastics based on fossil fuel, is derived from oil or natural gas, and the production of such plastics has a tendency to require more fuel and produces more emissions than the production of the biopolymers (bioplastics). Ultimately it can be obtained from starch, cellulose, algae, oil, sugar, and a number of other raw materials. In the overall use of plastics, the share of bioplastics is less than 1%. There are biodegradable and biobased plastics.
The term biodegradability and/or compostability discloses a chemical process in which the micro-organisms found in the environment convert the material into natural substances such as water, carbon dioxide and compost (artificial additives are not needed). The process of biodegradability depends on environmental conditions (place of decomposition or temperature), material and use. In comparison with classic plastics, great advantage of biodegradable plastics made from renewable sources is collectability and compostability of waste materials with other organic waste fractions.
Plastics can be fully or partially based on biomass (renewable source). Potential biomass for plastics is corn, sugar cane or cellulose. The use of renewable resources should lead to greater sustainability of plastics due to the lower carbon trace (carbon footprint). Although fossil resources are natural, they are not degradable and are not considered as basis for bio-based plastics.
Today, much attention is given to the concept of sustainable development, that is, "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"(World Commission on Environment and Development’s report "Our Common Future", 1987). For transition to sustainable development many problems must be solved and one of the most important is the search for alternative raw material sources.