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2023-11-04

What are biodegradable granules made of?

Biodegradable granules, also known as biodegradable polymers or biodegradable plastic, are gaining popularity worldwide as a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastics. These granules are made from a variety of materials that can break down naturally in the environment over time, significantly reducing pollution and waste. In this article, we will explore the different materials used to produce biodegradable granules and discuss their impact on the environment.

One of the most commonly used materials for biodegradable granules is polylactic acid (PLA). PLA is derived from renewable resources such as corn starch, sugarcane, or other plant-based sources. The process of converting these renewable resources into PLA involves fermenting the plant sugars to produce lactic acid, which is then polymerized to form the biodegradable granules. PLA has gained popularity due to its versatility and its ability to biodegrade in various environments, including industrial composting facilities.

Another material used in the production of biodegradable granules is polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). PHA is a family of biodegradable polymers produced by microorganisms through fermentation processes. These microorganisms can feed on various sources such as plant oils, sugar, or even waste materials like agricultural waste or sewage sludge. The resulting PHA granules can be processed into different forms, making them suitable for various applications such as packaging, agriculture, and medical devices.

Starch-based materials are also commonly used in the production of biodegradable granules. Starch is derived from various sources such as corn, potatoes, or wheat. The starch is extracted, processed, and blended with other biodegradable polymers to enhance its properties and make it suitable for specific applications. Starch-based biodegradable granules are often used in single-use products like food packaging, disposable cutlery, and plates.

Furthermore, polybutylene succinate (PBS) is another material used to produce biodegradable granules. PBS is a thermoplastic polymer derived from succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol, both of which can be obtained from renewable resources. The resulting PBS granules have similar properties to traditional plastics, making them suitable for a wide range of applications such as packaging, agricultural films, and disposable items. PBS is known for its excellent biodegradability in various environments, including soil and water.

Apart from these commonly used materials, there are ongoing research and development efforts to explore other sustainable options for biodegradable granules. Some researchers are investigating the use of algae-based materials, which have the potential to be highly sustainable and environmentally friendly. Algae have a rapid growth rate and can be cultivated in various environments, reducing the need for land use and freshwater resources.

Overall, the development and use of biodegradable granules offer significant benefits to the environment and reduce the reliance on traditional plastics. These granules provide similar functionality to traditional plastics while offering the added advantage of biodegradability. However, it is crucial to understand that biodegradable does not necessarily mean that the material will break down quickly in all environments. The rate of biodegradation depends on factors such as temperature, moisture, and the presence of microorganisms.

In conclusion, biodegradable granules are made from a variety of materials such as polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates, starch, and polybutylene succinate. These materials are derived from renewable resources and have the ability to break down naturally over time, reducing pollution and waste. The use of biodegradable granules offers a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastics and contributes to the global efforts to combat plastic pollution.

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