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Bioplastics, Lifecycle and Recycling System


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During my Material Technology course at Parsons School of Design(2015), I became interested in bioplastics as a sustainable material. However, is it completely sustainable? Is it really ideal materials for petroleum-free future? My research was started by questioning why bioplastics are emerging, how sustainable materials can affect product lifecycle, and what the real issue of waste is.

This research also led me to think about the existing recycling systems and individual's environmental responsibility. We have heard to reduce, reuse, recycle many times, and we have tried to change our habits and lifestyles. It is true that it would be great if each of us move forward, on the other hand, current waste problems are not only from individuals' thoughtless behaviors, but also from system issues. I believe that rethinking waste systems can make bigger impacts.

Published in: Environment
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Bioplastics, Lifecycle and Recycling System

  1. 1. Bioplas(cs,  its  Lifecycle,  and  Recycling  system   June  20,  2015   Material  Technology  :  Research  Presenta;on  (ver.2)   Sungmy  Kim  /  MFA  Transdisciplinary  Design    
  2. 2. What  are  bioplas;cs?   Contents   Why  are  they  beMer  than  oil-­‐based  plas;cs?   Types  of  bioplas;cs   Starch-­‐based  bioplas;cs   Algae  bioplas;cs   History   Issues  of  bioplas;cs   Limit  of  Plas;c  Recycling  symbols   Industry  -­‐  Solanyl   Applica;ons   Issues   Industry  -­‐  Algix   Applica;ons   Lack  of  facili;es   Miscommunica;ons  between  products  and  bins   Contents   Food  supply   GMO   Non-­‐compostables   Proposal  –  New  recycling  sign  system  
  3. 3. What  are  Bioplas(cs?   What  are  Bioplas;cs?   Bioplas;cs  :  Substances  made  from  organic  biomass  sources,  such  as  vegetable  oils,                                            starch,  or  microorganism   Biomass  :    Renewable  sources  from  living  (or  recently  living)  plant  and  animal  materials                                          which  can  be  used  as  fuel     Biopolymers  :  polymers  produced  by  living  organisms  (polymeric  biomolecules)  
  4. 4. Why  are  Bioplas;cs  BeMer  than  Oil-­‐based  Plas;cs?     Advantages   Disadvantages  
  5. 5. -­‐  Half  of  bioplas;cs  in  the  market  are  made  from  starch.   -­‐  Starch-­‐based  plas;c  manufacturing  started  about  1950s.     -­‐  Mainly  it  started  from  starch  manufacturers.     -­‐  Starch  is  from  corn,  potato,  tapioca,  kenaf,  sugarcane,  or  cassava.   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas(cs   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >  
  6. 6. -­‐  Cutlery  is  the  most  common  starch-­‐based  bioplas;c  product.   -­‐  Toyota  applied  starch-­‐based  bioplas;cs  for  car  interior  materials.   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas(cs  Applica(ons   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Applica;on  
  7. 7. Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Industry  
  8. 8. -­‐  Uses  starch  from  byproduct  of  the  french-­‐fry  and  potato  processing  industry     -­‐  Biodegradable,  compostable,  a  single  material     -­‐  Degrada;on  period  is  between  3  months  to  2  years     -­‐  a  renewable  subs;tute  for  PET  or  PS   -­‐  can  be  enhanced  by  applying  controlled  release  technology  to  add  func;onali;es  to  the   grades,  like  fer;lizers,  organic  pes;cides  and  fragrance.   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Manufacturer  :  Solanyl  
  9. 9. -­‐  injec;on  molding,  sheet  extrusion,  profile  extrusion,  thermoforming  and  extrusion  film   blowing  products  available   -­‐  Able  to  subs;tute  oil-­‐based  plas;cs  and  form  any  shape  like  them     Processing  availability   Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Solanyl  Processing  Availability  
  10. 10. -­‐  ‘trade  union’  by  Rachel  Griffin  of  earnest  studio   -­‐  uses  the  starch-­‐based  plas;c  Solanyl  as  a              link  between  mass  produc;on  and  handcraf     Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Solanyl  Applica;on   Art  exhibi(on  
  11. 11. -­‐  very  sensi;ve  to  humidity   -­‐  more  briMle  than  the  ABS  or  PLA  filament   -­‐  takes  longer  ;me  to  solidify  when  cooling  so  that  they  had  to  print                objects  at  a  very  low  extrusion  speed(30-­‐50  mm/s)     -­‐  ideal  extruder  temperature  should  be  at  185C     Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Solanyl  3D  Prin;ng   3D  Prin(ng  
  12. 12. Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   Advantages   Disadvantages   3  Issues  on  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas(cs   1   2   3  
  13. 13. Food   Industrial  Use   “1  million  tons  of  bioplas;cs  produced  annually,  around  300,000  hectares  are  used  to  grow   crops,  or  0.02%  of  the  world's  total  naturally  irrigated  area  available  for  cul;va;on.  Even  if   half  the  world's  plas;cs  were  made  from  crops  grown  on  food  land,  the  industry  would   only  required  3%  of  the  world's  cul;vated  acreage”     En;re  farmland   VS.   “By  2014,  almost  a  quarter  of  US  grain  produc;on  is  expected  to  be  turned  over  to  biofuels   and  bioplas;cs  produc;on,  poten;ally  causing  a  significant  rise  in  food  prices  that  will  hit   the  poorest  people  hardest”     “Of  course  hunger  is  a  problem  but  it  has  a  lot  to  do  with  problems  with  distribu(on  and   waste.  Produc;on  is  actually  sufficient."   Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Food  Supply  
  14. 14. Some  of  the  bioplas;cs  are  using  gene;cally  modified  crops  or  gene;cally  modified   bacteria  to  op;mize  efficiency  for  industrial  use.   -­‐  Gene  flow  :  Pollen  from  GMOs  can  be  resul;ng  in  hybrid  species.     -­‐  Overuse  of  agricultural  chemicals            :  GMOs  require  more  agricultural  chemicals  (i.e.,  herbicides  and  insec;cides)            :  Some  GMOs  even  produce  their  own  pes;cides.   Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   GMO  
  15. 15. Figure  1   Usually  we  consider  that  all  bioplas;cs  are  biodgradable  and  bio-­‐based,  but  technically  some   bioplas;cs  are  non-­‐biodgradable  and  fossil-­‐based.   Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Non-­‐compostables  
  16. 16. Degradable  :  will  fragment  into  smaller  pieces     Biodegradable  :  capable  of  being  broken  down,  usually  by  bacteria,  into  basic  elements                                                                 Compostable  :  capable  of  being  decomposed  by  microorganisms  in  the  presence  of  oxygen                                                          Waste  is  transformed  into  soil  amendments  such  as  humus  or  mulch.   Biodegradable   Compostable  Degradable   Features  of  Bioplas(cs   Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Non-­‐compostables  
  17. 17. Figure  2.   Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Non-­‐compostables  
  18. 18. Issues  from  Starch-­‐based  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   >   Non-­‐compostables   Biodegraded  plas(cs  are  more  harmful  than  non-­‐degradable  plas(cs.   -­‐  Large  plas;c  waste  is  collec;ble,  but  some  plas;cs  are  only  biodegradable,  and   non-­‐compostable,  small  plas;c  pieces  are  spread  and  absorbed  by  animals.     -­‐  Many  cosme;cs  and  personal  care  products  contain  ;ny  plas;c  microbeads  that   are  pollu;ng  environments.  Plas;c  microbeads  can  enter  the  bloodstream   through  the  gut,  and  then  they  can  circulate  in  the  bloodstream,  they  can   directly  enter  cells  and  and  ;ssues  of  these  animals.  
  19. 19. Algae  Bioplas(cs   -­‐  Compostable,  renewable  resources   -­‐  Higher  produc;vity  than  starch  in  the  same  scale   of  land   -­‐  High  energy  efficiency  in  produc;on   -­‐  Do  not  impact  on  the  available  farmable  land   Algae  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   To  resolve  these  three  issues  of  starch-­‐based  bioplas;cs,     algae  is  a  emerging  resource  for  bioplas;cs.  
  20. 20. Algae  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   Manufacturer  :  Algix  >  
  21. 21. ALGIX  use  algae  to  clean  wastewater  by   absorbing  excess  nutrients  while  also   providing  algae  biomass  as  a  co-­‐product.     Algae  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   Applica;on  /  Water  Cleaning  Service  >  
  22. 22. Algae  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   3D  Prin;ng  Availability  >   ALGIX  also  manufactures  3D-­‐Fuel,   resin  for  3D  printers.    
  23. 23. Bioplas;c   >   Advantages   Disadvantages   Other  Issues  of  Bioplas(cs  on  Sor(ng  Stage   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs  
  24. 24. “Most  recycling  centers  are  not  set  up  to  handle  large  amounts  of  PLA.  Presently,   PLA  products  cannot  be  recycled  in  conjunc;on  with  petroleum-­‐based  products.”   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs  Bioplas;c   >   1.  Lack  of  Facili(es   Lack  of  Facili;es  >  
  25. 25. Bioplas;c   >   2.  Limit  of  Plas(c  Recycling  symbols   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs   Limit  of  Plas;c  Recycling  symbols  >   Bioplas;cs  are  classified  in  No.7   plas;cs  which  is  for  the  plas;cs  that   are  the  most  difficult  to  be  recycled.   This  resin  coding  system  was   developed  in  1988.  
  26. 26. -­‐  “Interna;onal  Paper”   -­‐  “Cau;on  contents  Hot”   Bioplas;c   >   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs   Miscommunica;ons  >   3.  Miscommunica(ons  Between  Products  and  Bins   Informa;on  on  a  coffee  lid   -­‐  Manufacturer     -­‐  Recycling  symbol     1)  product  side   Then,  where  should  it  go?  Landfill  or  recycling   center?     -­‐>  This  lid  is  compostable!   Why  it  didn’t  men;on  its   compostability?  
  27. 27. Bioplas;c   >   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs   Miscommunica;ons  >   3.  Miscommunica(ons  Between  Products  and  Bins   2)  Bin  side   Is  it  easy  for  you  to  classify  your  waste?  
  28. 28. The  New  School   Food  Waste  Collec(on  Loca(ons     -­‐  13th  Street  Residence  Cafeteria   -­‐  Eugene  Lang,  65  West  11th  Street,  Lang  Café   -­‐  Parsons  East,  25  East  13th  Street,  floors  2-­‐5     -­‐  Arnhold  Hall,  55  West  13th  Street,  Café  55                and  Library  Café     -­‐          The  University  Center  Cafeteria  and  Cafes   Bioplas;c   >   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs   Miscommunica;ons  >   2)  Bin  side   Is  it  easy  for  you  to  find  compost  bins  near  you?   3.  Miscommunica(ons  Between  Products  and  Bins  
  29. 29. Bioplas;c   >   Other  Issues  on  Bioplas;cs   Miscommunica;ons  >   3.  Miscommunica(ons  Between  Products  and  Bins   2)  Bin  side   Is  it  easy  for  you  to  classify  your  waste  on  the  streets?  
  30. 30. Recyclables   Biodegradables   Compostables   “Recyclable”   “Biodegradable”   “Compostable”   Proposal   >   New  recycling  sign  system   Proposal  :  New  Recycling  Sign  System   -­‐  To  reduce  manual  waste  classifica;on  work     -­‐  To  inform  products’  capacity  and  lifecycle  to  consumers   -­‐  To  encourage  manufacturers  to  use  compostable  materials   -­‐  examples  :    
  31. 31. Thank  you  
  32. 32. “Bioplas;c,”  accessed  April  21,  2015,  hMp://;c#Starch-­‐based_plas;cs       Figure  1.  “What  are  bioplas;cs?”  accessed  April  20,  2015,  hMp://en.european-­‐bioplas;­‐content/uploads/2011/04/fs/ Bioplas;cs_eng.pdf.       Figure  2.  “What  is  the  difference  between  Compostable  and  Biodegradable  bags?”  accessed  April  21,  2015,  hMp:// compostable-­‐vs-­‐biodegradable.html       “Bioplas;cs  -­‐  natural  plas;c  -­‐  sustainable  plas;cs  -­‐  plas;c  bags  -­‐  biodegradable  plas;cs,”  accessed  April  22,  2015,  hMp:// bioplas;cs/       “Solanyl®  BP”  accessed  April  20,  2015,  hMp://       “What  are  Solanyl®  Biopolymers?”,  accessed  April  21,  2015,  hMp://       “Starch  based  plas;c  vessels  trade  union  by  earnest  studio,”  Accessed  April  22,  2015,  hMp://­‐based-­‐ plas;c-­‐vessels-­‐trade-­‐union-­‐by-­‐earnest-­‐studio/       “3D  prin;ng  with  Solanyl  filament  made  from  potato  skin,”  accessed  April  12,  2015,  hMp://;cles/20140806-­‐3d-­‐prin;ng-­‐ with-­‐solanyl-­‐filament-­‐made-­‐from-­‐potato-­‐skin.html       “Recycling  Terms,”  accessed  April  20,  2015,  hMp://;on/       “The  New  Bioplas;cs,  More  Than  Just  Forks,”  accessed  April  19,  2015,  hMp://www.ny; businessspecial2/07plas;c.html?_r=0       “Bioplas;cs  and  biodegradable  plas;cs,”  accessed  April  19,  2015,  hMp://;cs.html     “Report:  Bioplas;cs  pose  no  threat  to  food  supply,”  accessed  April  20,  2015,  hMp://www.plas;;cle/20130409/NEWS/ 130409913/report-­‐bioplas;cs-­‐pose-­‐no-­‐threat-­‐to-­‐food-­‐supply       Bibliography  
  33. 33. Brian  Momani,  Assessment  of  the  Impacts  of  Bioplas2cs:  Energy  Usage,  Fossil  Fuel  Usage,  Pollu2on,  Health  Effects,  Effects  on  the  Food   Supply,  and  Economic  Effects  Compared  to  Petroleum  Based  Plas2cs,  accessed  April  20,  2015,  hMps://­‐project/ Available/E-­‐project-­‐031609-­‐205515/unrestricted/bioplas;cs.pdf       “Bioproducts  Not  biofuels,”  accessed  April  22,  2015,  hMp://­‐algae/bioproducts-­‐not-­‐biofuels/       “Solaplast  Overview,”  accessed  April  22,  2015,  hMps://­‐IEthAtMVwA&       “ALGIX  -­‐  3D  Fuel,”  accessed  April  22,  2015,  hMps://       “Managing  Waste  and  Improving  Resource  Efficiency,”  accessed  April  21,  2015,  hMp://­‐ waste/     “Microplas;c  beads:  how  your  exfolia;ng  scrub  might  be  harming  the  ocean,”  accessed  June  19,  2015,  hMp:// environment/ar;cles/2014/09/10/4084109.htm             Bibliography