What are the basic disposal options for bioplastics?

A distinction must be made between pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Good disposal cycles already exist in the pre-consumer sector. In the post-consumer sector, waste management strategies need to be modified in order to properly accommodate the new products and establish a recycling system.

PLA for example, the most widely used bioplastic in the packaging sector, can be separated via NIR spectra analysis. From the industry’s point of view however, there is no need yet for an established sorting and recycling system, for lack of an adequate quantity flow to make such a system worthwhile.

Of course, bioplastics can also be burnt with the residue fraction during recycling. In contrast to petrochemical plastics, combustion (and also composting) produces exactly the CO2 amount taken up by the original biomass crop during its cultivation period.

Now, if material use of the biomass is put in first place, followed later by energy use, an additional (cascading) advantage is achieved.