Recycling of Bioplastics: Routes and Benefits

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

Continual reduction of landfill space along with rising CO2 levels and environmental pollution, are global issues that will only grow with time if not correctly addressed. The lack of proper waste management infrastructure means gloablly commodity plastics are disposed of incorrectly, leading to both an economical loss and environmental destruction. The bioaccumulation of plastics and microplastics can already be seen in marine ecosystems causing a negative impact on all organisms that live there, ultimately microplastics will bioaccumulate in humans. The opportunity exists to replace the majority of petroleum derived plastics with bioplastics (bio-based, biodegradable or both). This, in conjunction with mechanical and chemical recycling is a renewable and sustainable solution that would help mitigate climate change. This review covers the most promising biopolymers PLA, PGA, PHA and bio-versions of conventional petro-plastics bio-PET, bio-PE. The most optimal recycling routes after reuse and mechanical recycling are: alcoholysis, biodegradation, biological recycling, glycolysis and pyrolysis respectively.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Bio-PE, Bio-PET, Bioplastic, Chemical recycling, Poly(hydroxyalkanoates), Poly(lactic acid)