Environmentally friendly plastic materials - Bioplastics
Plastics have been invented for more than a hundred years and have provided people with a convenient life. However, dealing with waste plastics from traditional petrochemical sources is a very difficult problem. Traditional plastics are not easy to decompose, thereby causing environmental pollution and endangering the survival of species on the planet (over 1.5 million marine organisms die every year due to discarded plastics worldwide); incineration and combustion treatment, there are problems such as the generation of waste gas; inappropriate recycling strategies, There will still be a certain percentage of plastic waste that cannot be recycled and reused, which will continue to cause harm to the global environment.
In order to solve the problem of traditional plastic waste, the development of "environmentally friendly plastic materials" has become an important issue. "Environmentally friendly plastic materials" refer to plastic materials that can be decomposed into water and carbon dioxide by microorganisms in natural burial or composting environment, supplemented by sufficient humidity and oxygen; or in industrial composting conditions It can be decomposed, or it has the characteristics of biomass content but is not decomposable, and will be burned after recycling without generating toxic gases; and other plastic materials related to the concept of green environmental protection.
Bioplastics are a kind of "environmentally friendly plastic materials". The raw materials come from natural resources, such as corn, cassava, wheat, potato, cellulose, palm oil, etc. According to its characteristics, it can be divided into two types: biodegradable and non-decomposable; some traditional petrochemical plastics also have the characteristics of biodegradability, which are also classified as "environmentally friendly plastic materials"; traditional plastic polyethylene (PE) and common treasures The special bottle material "PET plastic" has been widely recycled and reused, and it also belongs to the category of "environmentally friendly plastic materials". Types and decomposability of bio-plastic and petrochemical plastic materials.
"Environmentally friendly plastic materials" have a wide range of types, focusing on the development trends and prospects of bio-plastics.
Residual agricultural raw materials will become the focus of the new development of bio-plastics.
There are currently three types of bio-plastic manufacturing technologies: "fermentation polymerization", "biological + chemical reaction" and "biological hybrid method", among which "biological + chemical reaction" is the most applied technology. "Biological + chemical reaction" mainly obtains biomass monomers (such as Latic Acid) from biomass raw materials (such as sucrose, corn starch) through biological fermentation reaction, and then synthesizes biomass plastic through chemical polymerization; "Using biomass raw materials (such as starch, cellulose) through biological fermentation and direct polymerization to produce biomass plastic (such as PHA); "biomixing method" uses a petrochemical synthesis of monomer raw materials (such as PTA) through Raw monomer materials (such as Bio-PDO, Bio-EG) become part of bio-plastics (such plastics still contain petroleum) after polymerization.
The original intention for the development of bio-plastics lies in their biodegradable properties, which can solve the problem of the flood of traditional plastic waste. However, the performance of bio-plastics is not as good as that of traditional petroleum plastics, resulting in limited application fields. Taking into account the market's demand for material performance and taking into account the characteristics of material recycling and low carbon emissions, the "biohybrid method" has gradually received attention. The properties of plastic materials made by the "biological hybrid method" are indistinguishable from those of traditional plastics. In addition to the use of biogenic raw materials, the concept of recycling and low-carbon benefits has become a compromise between market demand and environmental protection needs.
In the past, bio-plastics were often considered to come from food crops, and there were doubts about competing with the people for food. Therefore, the current state of research focuses on using agricultural surplus materials, such as rice straw, bagasse, and garbage as raw materials, and converting them into bio-plastics has become the focus of technology development. In various research and development, the use of rice stalks and other agricultural wastes containing lignocellulose for fermentation polymerization is an international development trend, and it is optimistic that it will be the supply source of biomass plastic materials in the next stage.
Consolidate international consensus to complete 100% recycling technology in 2030. The recent summit of the seven major industrial countries has reached a consensus that the goal of 2030 is that plastic materials can be 100% recycled or recycled as the final disposal. This move shows that the global plastics industry is bound to be integrated with the circular economy in the future. Bio-plastics have been regarded as one of the necessary options to promote the plastic circular economy.
Prospective technology developed in mature Asian markets
Emerging markets use raw materials as a development advantage
In this survey, environmentally friendly plastic materials squeezed into the "2030 Asia's Top Ten Key Technologies" rankings. According to statistics from nova-Institute, an internationally renowned market research organization, the Asia-Pacific region is currently the main production center for bio-plastics, which shows that the Asia-Pacific region attaches great importance to the development of environmentally friendly plastic materials.
In the emerging markets of Asia (Shuangyin, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines), the resources invested in environmentally friendly plastic materials are significantly higher than those in mature markets (Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore). This result is also consistent with the actual situation. Because emerging markets have more abundant biomass resources, they can fully provide the raw materials needed for the development of bio-plastics in the country. The availability of sufficient raw materials is one of the key factors for the development of bio-plastics. At present, the raw materials of bio-plastics are still mainly agricultural crops, such as sucrose, starch, and vegetable oil. Thailand, which is an emerging market, is the world's largest exporter of cassava products, and Indonesia is also one of the important exporters. In order to strengthen the development of bio-plastics, the Thai government has set a ten-year goal and selected sugarcane and cassava as the economic crop sources for the development of bio-energy and bio-chemicals. With the support of this policy, Thailand will continue to supply stable cash crop resources. Given the relatively sufficient raw material environment, it is reasonable to explain that the input resources of emerging markets are significantly higher than that of mature markets. And because emerging markets have more raw materials, the development of bio-plastics has a greater impact on this region.
Investing in bio-plastics in emerging markets not only has factors close to the raw materials but also has the synergy of being close to the market. The populations of India and Indonesia are currently ranked second and fourth in the world, respectively. Compared with advanced countries, the per capita use of plastic is significantly lower, which means that in this region, plastic materials have very good development prospects. Thailand, which already has resource advantages, has been able to establish the future market potential and scale of the development of bio-plastics under the trend that countries have begun to pay attention to the bio-economy in recent years. Local and international companies continue to increase their investment plans in this region. International companies use various methods such as joint ventures or license agreements to invest or enclose factories for large-scale planting in order to obtain the materials needed for the development of bio-plastics and make them more competitive in terms of development costs.
The main reason for the development of environmentally friendly plastic materials is environmental protection. The concept of "circular economy" is in power. Under the mainstream consciousness of pursuing sustainable development, the circular economy that emphasizes the sustainable recovery of resources has become a new trend in global development. Investing resources to develop environmentally friendly plastic materials such as quality plastics and recyclable plastics has naturally become a very important issue. The Asian region has become the world's most important consumer market for plastic products, and the issue of plastic development is even more important in this region. It also reasonably explains the reason why "environmentally friendly plastic materials" have been squeezed into the top ten key technologies in Asia.
The average score of "environmentally friendly plastic materials" ranks first in Asian countries and emerging markets, which means that Asian countries believe that by 2030, local companies will be able to produce this technology. The issue of circular economy has a fever, and the development of various industries is closely tied to the concept of green and environmental protection. Plastic materials are closely related to daily life. The introduction of "environmentally friendly plastic materials" into daily life has undoubtedly become an issue that many countries attach importance to.
At present, many Asian countries have restricted the use of single-use plastics, but "environmentally friendly plastic materials" such as bio-plastics and recycled plastics are not included in the restricted list, which helps promote the use of "environmentally friendly plastic materials". In order to accelerate the development of the green concept of plastic materials, the Indian government has even set a strict target policy of "to abandon disposable plastic products by 2020". This policy is bound to accelerate the development and promotion of the use of "environmentally friendly plastic materials" in India. At present, "environmentally friendly plastic materials" have been used in various countries. Governments and companies continue to invest in resource development, and the people's environmental awareness continues to increase. It is foreseeable that in 2030, "environmentally friendly plastic materials" will become the most commonly used technology in Asia.
Innovative research and development energy is sufficient. Polylactic acid (PLA) is currently the most widely used bio-plastic in Taiwan. The applications of fresh fruit and vegetable boxes and cold drink cups account for about 90% of demand. Other applications include disposable tableware, packaging bags, and long-lasting Life products. About 70% of PLA manufactured products are exported to Europe, America, Japan, and other countries.
The Industrial Technology Research Institute has invested resources in the development of high-quality plastics technology. It has now mastered 45 patents and transferred technology to more than 55 manufacturers. Cooperating with domestic industry players to develop “bio-polyester materials” for bottles, which have been supplied to global beverage manufacturers and sold globally; “lightweight bio-composites” and “bio-water-absorbing touch control additives” have also been awarded Bio-Preferred by the US Badge.
Taiwan’s bio-plastics industry is limited by an insufficient supply of raw materials (crops). Therefore, it mainly imports plastic materials (primary products after processing crops) for modification, mixing, processing, or commissioning to produce plastic products, which are then handed over to Downstream application end for sales. To strengthen the development of Taiwan's bio-plastics industry, one of the key factors is the availability of sufficient materials. The raw material end can be coordinated with the new southward policy, through international cooperation, to master Southeast Asian material sources, establish independent mass production capabilities, and use existing R&D capabilities to develop high-end and high-value applications, which will enhance the competitiveness of Taiwan's bio-plastics industry.
The concept of "circular economy" is in power. Under the mainstream consciousness of pursuing sustainable development, the circular economy that emphasizes the sustainable recovery of resources has become a new trend in global development. Investing resources to develop environmentally friendly plastic materials such as quality plastics and recyclable plastics has naturally become a very important issue.
Plastic products have become inseparable from human activities and are difficult to replace. However, in recent years, issues such as marine pollution and the hazards of plastic particles resulting from the use of plastics have received increasing attention, highlighting the necessity and urgency of developing environmentally friendly plastic materials. Environmentally friendly plastic materials are squeezed into the ranking of "2030 Asia's Top Ten Key Technologies", demonstrating the importance of this technology in this region. Taiwan lacks raw materials for the development of bio-plastics. If it can cooperate with the new southward policy, master the sources of Southeast Asian materials, establish independent mass production capabilities, and use existing research and development capabilities to develop high-end and high-value applications, it will enhance Taiwan's bio-plastics industry competitiveness.