Contribution to a bioeconomy
Feb. 1, 2023 / TEXT BY YUYA OYAMADA / ILLUSTRAIONS BY SHINJI HAMANA
※ Article updated on Mar. 31, 2021
- Expectations in bioplastics are rising as a solution that will contribute to the realization of a bioeconomy. In general, there are two different categories of bioplastic. There are biobased plastics which are produced using renewable resources such as straw or other plants, and biodegradable plastics which are decomposed by microorganisms in the soil. Note that some biobased plastics are biodegradable and some are not. In addition, biodegradable plastics are not necessarily plant-derived.
Plastic is used in various applications owing to its convenience. It is indispensable in our daily lives. According to the latest forecasts of the Global Plastics Outlook in 2022 plastic waste is projected to triple by 2060. Meanwhile, urgent global-scale issues that must be solved include the depletion of fossil resources, global warming, and plastic waste. At the Mitsubishi Chemical Group, we believe that plastics made from sustainably sourced, renewable resources can contribute to the efficient use of resources by decoupling economic growth from the consumption of finite resources. Moreover, it may contribute to reducing the overall GHG emissions through the ability of renewable resources to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and maintain it, stored along the entire product life cycle, including end-of-life, thus reducing the final product’s carbon footprint from cradle-to-grave.
The Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s bioplastic solutions
1. Shift from petroleum-derived biodegradable plastics to plant-derived BioPBS™
2. DURABIO™, a bio-based engineering plastic with superior durability and optical features
Shift from petroleum-derived biodegradable plastics to plant-derived BioPBS™
BioPBS™ (bio-based polybutylene succinate) is a bio-based and biodegradable polymer, developed based on advanced technology from Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC). Derived from natural resources, such as corn or sugarcane, BioPBS™ has been designed to be compostable in dedicated facilities into biomass, carbon dioxide and water, in respect to international standards and local policies.
Some of our product applications for the use of BioPBS are:
・food packaging, e.g. coffee capsules, cups, lids, trays
・coatings of cups and wrappings made of paper or cardboard
DURABIO™, a bio-based engineering plastic with superior durability and optical features
MCC’s DURABIO™ is a bio-based engineering plastic made from isosorbide, plant-derived raw material. This product, which possesses the traits of both polycarbonates and acrylic resins, is a plastic that is superior in transparency, weather/light resistance, scratch resistance, and shock resistance. As it is a transparent plastic, it offers good color development, and is scratch-resistant, making the coating process unnecessary and also contributes to the reduction of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). It has a track record for being widely used for auto parts. Furthermore, the development of new applications is underway, mainly in displays and LED parts, utilizing the products superior optical properties.
The Group will contribute to the realization of a recycling society by expanding bio plastic businesses through provision of high added-value products that contribute to the reduction of the environmental footprint, and application development aimed to maximize product features and benefits.