New technologies in the production of bioplastics: prospects and environmental significance

UDC 504.06
Publication date: 28.03.2024
International Journal of Professional Science №3-2-2024

New technologies in the production of bioplastics: prospects and environmental significance

Piletskaya Anastasia Sergeevna
2nd year student
St. Petersburg State University
Industrial technology and design
(Higher School of Technology and Energy)
Abstract: The article is devoted to the study of new technologies in the production of bioplastics and their prospects in the context of environmental significance. Bioplastics are biodegradable materials whose base consists of plant and animal waste. Their production with the help of innovative technologies is becoming increasingly relevant in the context of the growing problem of pollution by plastic waste of the natural environment.The article discusses technologies such as the use of microorganisms for the production of bioplastics, the use of plants with a high starch and cellulose content, as well as various methods of biotechnology. The advantages of bioplastics over traditional plastics, such as biodegradability, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and resources used, are discussed. The article also highlights the importance of the environmental significance of bioplastics research, pointing to their potential in reducing global plastic pollution and preserving the environment. Thus, new technologies in the production of bioplastics are of great importance for the sustainable development and conservation of the planet's ecosystem.
Keywords: Plastics, microplastics, ecology, biodegradable waste, bioplastics.

The use of plastics has become an integral part of our daily life today. From food packaging to electronic devices, plastic objects surround us everywhere. However, despite its wide popularity and ease of use, plastic has a significant negative impact on the environment. The first thing you should familiarize yourself with when discussing this issue is its non-decomposability. Plastic products, such as bottles, bags, plastic dishes, can remain in the environment for hundreds of years. Their decomposition takes a huge amount of time, which creates serious problems for nature. The accumulation of plastic waste in the environment leads to pollution of water resources, soils and air.

In addition, another growing issue is microplastics. These are tiny particles of plastic that are formed as a result of the decomposition of large plastic waste. Microplastic penetrates into water and food systems, harming living organisms and creating potential threats to human health [1].

Fortunately, awareness of the environmental problem of using plastic products is growing, and more and more people are becoming ready to take measures to reduce its use. However, the replacement of plastic requires a serious change in the culture of consumption and the adoption of more ecological alternatives.

In this article we will look at the impact of plastic on the environment and possible solutions to this problem. We will have to study various aspects of plastic pollution, assess its consequences and consider examples of successful initiatives to reduce the use of plastic products. A significant part of this essay will be devoted to the analysis of alternative materials and technologies that can help reduce the negative impact of plastic on the environment. Plastic pollution is an urgent and complex problem that requires comprehensive consideration and search for solutions. It is important to participate in this discussion and find ways to make the environment cleaner and safer for us and future generations [1,2].

One of the most important aspects of modern society is to reduce the negative environmental impact on the planet. The search for alternative materials is one of the key strategies to achieve this goal.

The main reason for the need to search for alternative materials is that many traditional materials used in production have a negative impact on the environment. For example, petroleum products used in the production of plastic are a source of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental pollution. The search for alternative materials will help reduce the consumption of such harmful resources. For example, the use of biodegradable materials can reduce the load on landfills and reduce waste generation. Also, alternative materials, such as fiber from plant sources, can reduce dependence on the use of oil and other energy sources [3,4].

In addition, alternative materials can be more energy efficient and cost-effective. Some studies show that the use of alternative materials can help reduce energy costs for the production and transportation of goods. It may reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the economic efficiency of production. The search for alternative materials can also contribute to the development of new innovations and technologies. New materials may have better properties, such as strength, flexibility or thermal insulation. This can lead to the creation of new products and industries, which contributes to economic growth and job creation [3,4].

Bioplastics are plastic materials that are made from plant and other biological raw materials. They are an alternative to conventional plastics, which are produced from oil and other non-renewable resources.

The main difference between bioplastics and conventional plastics lies in their origin and method of decomposition. Unlike petroleum products used for the production of conventional plastics, bioplastics are produced from renewable sources such as corn, potatoes, sugar cane and other plants. This means that bioplastics is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable material, since its production does not require a large amount of petroleum products. However, not all bioplastics are biodegradable. Biodegradable bioplastics decompose in nature under the influence of microorganisms in a relatively short period of time, leaving no harmful residues. Non-biodegradable bioplastics, although produced from renewable sources, may not decompose as quickly as biodegradable ones. They also require special recycling conditions for disposal or can be recycled into other materials [5,6].

Bioplastics can be classified according to their origin. Some of them include:

  1. Bioplastics derived from vegetable oils and fats: such bioplastics are made from vegetable oil, for example, soy, corn or rapeseed. They are often used in packaging and visually can be similar to ordinary plastic materials.
  2. Bioplastics obtained from starch and cellulose: these types of bioplastics are extracted from starch obtained from potatoes, corn or other sources, as well as from cellulose obtained from wood or other plants. They are often used in packaging and tableware for single use [7].
  3. Biopolyethylene: this is a type of bioplastics obtained from ethylene, which is made from alcohol obtained from sugar cane or corn. Biopolyethylene is very common and can be used in many areas, including packaging, film and even clothing.
  4. Polylactic Acid (PLA): PLA is obtained from lactic acid produced from corn or sugar cane. It is often used in packaging, disposable tableware, and other applications where transparency and biodegradability are required [7,8].

Bioplastics are plastic materials that are produced from biological and renewable sources. This alternative to traditional plastics is becoming increasingly popular due to the growing awareness of society about the problem of plastic pollution and its negative impact on the environment.

One of the main methods of bioplastics production is bioconversion, which is the process of converting biomass into polymers. Bioconversion can be carried out using various microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi. These microorganisms  produce enzymes that can break down biomass and convert it into polymers, such as polylactide (PLA) or polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). Bioconversion is an environmentally friendly method of producing bioplastics, since natural microorganisms are used in the process [6,9].

Another method of bioplastics production is fermentation, which is also based on the use of microorganisms. However, in this case, microorganisms do not produce enzymes, but the plastic itself. For example, microorganisms can produce polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), which is one of the most common bioplastics. Fermentation usually takes place under conditions of ethanol fermentation, where microorganisms convert sugars or other similar substances into plastic.

The third method of bioplastics production is synthesis from biomass. This method involves using chemical processes to convert biomass, such as cellulose or lignin, into polymers. One example of such synthesis is the process of cellulose hydrolysis, in which cellulose decomposes into glucose, and then polymerizes into plastic using various chemical reactions [10].

Each of these methods has its advantages and applicability in different areas of production.

Bioconversion is widely used in the production of bioplastics, as the process is based on the use of natural microorganisms, and does not require large chemical processes. This method also makes it possible to obtain a wide range of bioplastics with various properties, which makes it applicable in various industries, including packaging, medicine, agriculture and the automotive industry.

Fermentation, on the other hand, is characterized by a simpler production process, since microorganisms themselves produce plastic. This method is often used to produce specific types of bioplastics, such as PHB. Fermentation is used in the medical, food and packaging industries [10].

Synthesis from biomass requires more complex chemical processes, but provides the possibility of using various resources, such as cellulose or lignin, for the production of bioplastics. This method is often used in the production of wood bioplastics and can be widely used in construction, the automotive industry and other industries where bioplastics with high strength and resistance to environmental influences are required.

In general, various methods of bioplastics production offer a wide range of opportunities to replace traditional plastics and reduce the negative impact on the environment. They have their advantages and applicability in different areas of production, which makes them important tools in the implementation of sustainable development [7,10].

Overview of the latest achievements in the field of bioplastics production technologies:

The use of microorganisms: One of the promising directions in the production of bioplastics is the use of microorganisms, such as bacteria and algae. These microorganisms are capable of converting organic substances into polymers, such as polyester and polylactide. By improving the genetic design of microorganisms and optimizing the conditions of the production process, researchers have achieved increased efficiency and economic feasibility of this method. Some microorganisms are able to synthesize bioplastics from agricultural waste or even from polluted waters. This allows you to reduce the cost of raw materials and avoid the use of oil-based plastics.

Nanoengineering: Another promising technology in the field of bioplastics is the use of nanoengineering to improve their properties. For example, adding nanoparticles to bioplastics can increase their strength, resistance to heat and resistance to UV radiation [11].

Bioengineering: Using the methods of bioengineering and genetic modification, scientists are working to create new types of bioplastics with optimal properties. For example, molecular modification of polymers can improve their thermal stability or biodegradability.

Waste use: In order to reduce environmental impacts and reduce production costs, researchers are also exploring the possibility of using organic waste, such as plant residues or agricultural waste, as raw materials for the production of bioplastics [12].

Bioplastics are made from plant or animal sources, such as corn or potatoes, unlike conventional plastics that are made from petroleum. This makes it possible to reduce dependence on petroleum products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, since less carbon dioxide is released during the production of bioplastics.

However, bioplastics also have their drawbacks. Firstly, more water and land can be used to grow plant and animal sources of bioplastics, which can lead to competition with the food sector. Secondly, the process of production and decomposition of bioplastics may require certain conditions, such as high temperature or the presence of microorganisms, which may make it difficult to use and process it effectively.

In addition, although bioplastics may be biodegradable, this does not mean that they automatically decompose in nature. Depending on the conditions, bioplastics may take a long time to decompose or, in some cases, they may not decompose at all.

Bioplastics has several advantages over conventional plastics, which make it more environmentally friendly and environmentally resistant [12,13].

  1. Biodegradability: One of the main advantages of bioplastics is their ability to biodegradability. This means that they can decompose independently under normal conditions in the environment, without leaving traces and without polluting nature. Unlike conventional plastics, which can exist for hundreds of years in nature, bioplastics can decompose quickly and safely.
  2. Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: Bioplastics are produced from plant and animal sources, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during growth. This helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as in the process of decomposition of bioplastics significantly smaller amounts of greenhouse gases are released than during the decomposition of conventional plastics [14].
  3. Reducing the use of oil: Conventional plastic products are made from oil or gas, which causes serious consumption of these natural resources. Bioplastics are not made from petroleum products, but from renewable sources such as plants. This helps to reduce dependence on oil and the total consumption of these sources, which is especially important in conditions of limited oil reserves.
  4. The possibility of recycling: Bioplastics has a high degree of processing. It can be regenerated to produce new plastic products, which makes it more sustainable to use and helps reduce overall resource consumption [13,14].
  5. Less environmental burden: The production of bioplastics requires less energy and water than the production of conventional plastics. This means reducing the negative impact on the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions during production.

Bioplastics are a more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to conventional plastics. Their advantages include biodegradability, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced oil use, the possibility of processing and less environmental burden. These advantages make bioplastics an attractive option for solving the problem of environmental pollution and reducing the negative impact on the climate [13,14].

Difficulties in the development of bioplastics are primarily associated with high production costs and limited availability of raw materials. Unlike traditional plastics, the production of bioplastics requires special plant or animal sources, such as corn, potatoes, sugar cane or straw. The cultivation and processing of these raw materials require additional costs, which makes bioplastics more expensive compared to conventional plastics.

In addition, the limited availability of raw materials causes a problem of competition with the food sector. For example, the use of corn or potatoes for the production of bioplastics can lead to a reduction in food production and an increase in their prices. This raises discussions about the priorities of using limited raw materials and the risk of starving settlements.

However, despite these difficulties, bioplastics have significant potential for development in the future. Plant and animal sources are renewable and sustainable, which has a positive effect on the environment. Bioplastics can be biodegradable, which reduces the amount of plastic waste that the planet has to deal with.

Bioplastics production technologies also continue to evolve, which can lead to lower costs and increase the efficiency of processes. The use of new raw materials and the development of more efficient production methods can improve the competitiveness of bioplastics [15].

In addition, the market share of bioplastics is expected to increase in the future. The growing awareness of the problem of plastic pollution and the growing interest in sustainable and environmentally friendly materials are leading to an increase in demand for bioplastics. Many companies and states are already actively working to encourage the use of bioplastics and the introduction of appropriate legislative measures.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the development of new technologies in the production of bioplastics is of great importance for solving the problem of environmental pollution by plastic waste.  The use of bioplastics derived from renewable resources can reduce dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, they have the best biological properties, soluble in water and biodegradable, which contributes to their safe and environmentally friendly disposal. New technologies play a key role in improving the quality and efficiency of the bioplastics production process. The use of innovative methods available today, such as fermentation, chemical-enzymatic polymerization and genetic engineering, allows to increase the production of bioplastics and reduce their cost.

The main conclusions of this study indicate the importance of continuing to study this topic. It is necessary to conduct additional experiments to optimize the production processes of bioplastics, to study their physico-chemical properties and to study their long-term impact on the environment.

In general, the development of new technologies in the production of bioplastics is an important task that requires further research and investment. The introduction of these technologies will reduce the negative impact of plastic waste on the environment and make the plastic industry more sustainable and environmentally friendly.


1. A. S. Klinkov, Utilization and recycling of polymer materials. / A. S. Klinkov, P. S. Bedyaev, M. V. Sokolov. – Tambov: TSTU Publishing House, 2005. – 80s. – Text: direct
2. E. T. Krutko Technology of biodegradable polymer materials. / E. T. Krutko, N. R. Prokopchuk, A. I. Globa. – Minsk: BSTU, 2014. – 105s. – Text: direct
3. Creation of an automatic control system for emissions and discharges // Journal "Ecology of production": [website]. – 2022. – URL:– Text: electronic
4. Khamidullina, G. R., Gatina, G. R. Quality management. Lecture notes / G. R. Hamidullina, G. R. Gatina/ Kazan Federal University. – Kazan, 2014. – 204s. – Text: direct
5. Dytnersky, Yu. I. Basic processes and apparatuses of chemical technology / Yu.I. Dytnersky. – ed. 2nd, pererab. and additional – Moscow: Chemistry, 1991. – 495 p. – Text: direct
6. Ecology and nature management: studies. manual / edited by Dr. geogr. sciences, prof. V. M. Razumovsky. – St. Petersburg : Publishing House of SPbGUEF, 2011. - Text: direct
7. Albuquerque PBS, Malafaia CB (2018) Perspectives on the production, structural characteristics and potential applications of bioplastics derived from polyhydroxyalkanoates. Int J Biol Macromol 107:615–625
8. Arikan EB, Ozsoy HD (2014) Bioplastic production from plants. In: Bursa Tarım Kongresi. Accessed 21 Feb 2024
9. Arikan EB, Ozsoy HD (2015) A review: investigation of bioplastics. J Mater Civ Eng 9:188–192
10. Barrett A (2018b) The history and most important innovations of bioplastics. Accessed 20 Feb 2024
11. Barrett A (2018a) A summary of bioplastics feedstock: bioplastic feedstock 1st, 2nd and 3rd generations. Accessed 20 Feb 2024
12. Bio-on (2016) Life after plastic. Accessed 22 Feb 2024
13. Braun D, Cherdron H, Rehahn M, Ritter H, Voit B (2005) Polymer synthesis: theory and practice - fundamentals, methods, experiments. Springer, Berlin
14. Brizga J, Hubacek K, Feng K (2020) The unintended side effects of bioplastics: carbon, land, and water footprints. One Earth 3:45–53
15. El-Kadi S (2010) Bioplastic production from inexpensive sources bacterial biosynthesis, cultivation system, production and biodegradability. VDM Publishing House, New York, NY