Faced with the serious worldwide problem that we have with plastic pollution, the biodegradable materials. They are materials that decompose thanks to the intervention of living beings such as fungi and other microorganisms that are present in nature. Thanks to this, they do not get stuck in the ground or in any medium and they do not pollute. The decomposition process begins with the bacteria that extract the enzymes and favor the transformation of the initial product into simpler elements. Finally, all the soil microparticles are gradually absorbed.
For this reason, since biodegradable materials are becoming very important, we are going to dedicate this article to tell you everything you need to know about them.
Table of Contents
What are biodegradable materials
Biodegradable materials are considered all those materials that decompose due to the intervention of fungi and other microorganisms that exist in nature. When a substance is attacked by bacteria, the decomposition process begins, which extract enzymes to help convert the initial product into simpler elements. The last stage consists of gradually absorbing the particles from the soil.
On the other hand, non-decomposable materials only remain in the soil and destroy the surrounding ecosystem. Most modern synthetic materials do not have bacteria that can simplify them, so they remain intact over time, thus polluting the environment.
Fortunately, scientific progress has also helped us in this field, creating ecologically sustainable and biodegradable materials that can replace those that are now obsolete and harmful. To prevent accumulation of non-biodegradable compounds in natureTwo solutions are currently being studied: using roots or microbial strains that can attack products that are considered non-degradable, or developing materials that can be biodegradable by ordinary strains.
In this way, the accumulation of materials that is taking place every day on our planet, and that many people are unaware of, can end once and for all, or greatly reduce some packaging, papers, materials, etc. You do not need to wait for several years until it disappears completely organically.
Types of biodegradable materials
Let's see which are the most common and well-known biodegradable materials:
Plastics from starch and rye
Biodegradable plastics made from corn or wheat starch are currently being produced on an industrial scale, for example to make garbage bags. The degradation of these plastics can take 6 to 24 months, underground or in water, depending on the speed at which the starch is incorporated.
Similarly, fully biodegradable plastics made from rye or compressed fibers can replace petroleum-based plastics. One of them is based on rye starch and comes in the form of granular materials that are used to make dishes. At change composition and plasticizing process, technical characteristics such as density, elastic modulus, tensile strength, deformation can be obtained, etc. The properties of these materials are very similar to those of conventional polymers of petrochemical origin.
Biodegradable synthetic and natural plastics
In this group, there are some types of synthetic polymers that can degrade naturally or by adding substances that can accelerate their degradation. These plastics include oxygen-biodegradable plastics and poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL). Biodegradable oxidative plastics are synthetic plastics, in which chemical additives that promote oxidation are added to the composition to initiate or accelerate the oxidative degradation process to produce biodegradable products. PCL is a biodegradable and biocompatible thermoplastic polyester used in medical applications.
Natural biodegradable polymers, also called biopolymers, are produced from renewable resources. Some of the products we have mentioned include polysaccharides produced by plants (corn starch, cassava, etc.), polyester produced by microorganisms (mainly various bacteria), natural rubber, etc.
Paper and natural fabrics
We use paper in a certain way in our daily life, which can also be a biodegradable material. They may be paper towels, napkins, notebooks, newspapers, postal letters, kraft paper bags, receipts, parking tickets, paper plates and cups, forms and applications, or even helpful articles. Since we are all surrounded by paper, why not reuse it?
You can switch to clothing made from popular chemicals and cotton, jute, linen, wool, or silk fabrics. In addition to silk, natural fabrics are cheaper, comfortable to wear, and breathable. Unlike synthetic fabrics, natural fabrics are biodegradable and do not need to undergo a synthetic process. The many benefits of these products are that they break down easily and do not produce toxic by-products. On the other hand, nylon, polyester, lycra, etc. They are manufactured by synthetic processing and are non-biodegradable fabrics.
Advantages of biodegradable materials
There are numerous advantages to using biodegradable materials. Let's see what they are:
- Does not produce waste: They are completely natural materials that can be consumed by microorganisms without difficulty, that is why I use them to operate in my life cycle. Therefore, it does not produce waste because it does not remain in the landfill or landfill for long.
- Does not generate accumulation of landfills: They are a great solution to the space problems that exist in landfills, due to the accumulation of non-biodegradable materials.
- They are easy to manufacture and manipulate: You can make almost anything with biodegradable materials without reducing the quality.
- They do not contain toxins: the use of biodegradable materials does not allow such dependence on the use of other materials that require higher energy consumption and more serious pollution.
- They are easy to recycle: they are totally reusable and do not require complicated processes for their treatment.
- Are trendy: It is a market that is on the rise and more and more is known about it.
- They do not pollute: If we talk about their waste, biodegradable materials have less impact on the landscape and the ecosystem.
- Makes you be more supportive: It is a beautiful way of acting in front of nature and life since we are contributing to the care of the environment and we are helping to create sustainable development.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about biodegradable materials and their characteristics.