Unlike the conventional materials which make up traditional oil based plastics, bioplastics are made up of biodegradable, biobased, or both types of materials.
Biodegradable is defined by the chemical process where microorganisms, which are available to a particular environment, convert materials into natural elements such as water, carbon dioxide and biomass. The process is dependent on surrounding environmental factors, such as location or temperature, the material itself and its application.
Biobased materials are partially derived from biomass (i.e. plants), such as wheatstraw, corn, sugarcane or plant cellulose.
Compostable bioplastics are credibly certified materials that meet ASTM D6400 standards and are biodegradable and compostable in commercial composting facilities.
In comparison to traditional oil based plastics, biobased plastics provide two major advantages. Biobased plastics save fossil/oil resources by using biomass, which is an annually renewing crop. In addition, biodegradability offers supplementary means of resource recovery for the product end life.