Bio-degradable plastics can be made from a variety of renewable resources, such as corn starch or cellulose, using biotechnology.

Plastics are one of the most ubiquitous materials in our modern world, used in everything from packaging to electronics. However, the environmental impact of plastics is becoming increasingly evident, with plastic waste polluting our oceans, harming wildlife, and contributing to climate change. One potential solution to this problem is the development of biodegradable plastics made from renewable resources, using biotechnology.

What are biodegradable plastics?

Traditional plastics are made from non-renewable fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas, and are designed to be durable and long-lasting. However, this durability also means that plastic waste can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, causing harm to ecosystems and wildlife.

Bio-degradable plastics, on the other hand, are designed to break down into harmless substances over time, reducing their impact on the environment. Bio-degradable plastics can be made from a variety of renewable resources, such as corn starch or cellulose, using biotechnology.

How are biodegradable plastics made using biotechnology?

Biotechnology can be used to create new materials and processes for making bio-degradable plastics. One approach is to use microorganisms, such as bacteria or fungi, to break down renewable resources into the building blocks of plastics, such as monomers or polymers.

These building blocks can then be used to create biodegradable plastics with a variety of properties, such as strength or flexibility. Another approach is to use genetic engineering or gene editing to modify organisms to produce new types of plastics, or to optimize existing processes for producing bio-degradable plastics.

Benefits of biodegradable plastics

The use of biodegradable plastics has several potential benefits for the environment and society:

  1. Reducing plastic waste: Bio-degradable plastics can break down naturally over time, reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or the environment.
  2. Using renewable resources: Bio-degradable plastics can be made from renewable resources, such as corn starch or cellulose, reducing our reliance on non-renewable fossil fuels.
  3. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions: The production of traditional plastics contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, while the production of bio-degradable plastics made from renewable resources can have a lower carbon footprint.
  4. Improving recycling: Bio-degradable plastics can be composted, reducing the need for energy-intensive recycling processes or the disposal of plastics in landfills.

Challenges and limitations of biodegradable plastics

While biodegradable plastics have many potential benefits, there are also some challenges and limitations to their use:

Cost: Biodegradable plastics can be more expensive to produce than traditional plastics, making them less competitive in some markets.

Performance: Biodegradable plastics may not have the same durability or other properties as traditional plastics, making them less suitable for certain applications.

Confusion: The use of the term “biodegradable” can be confusing, as some materials marketed as biodegradable may not break down as quickly or effectively as expected.

Recycling challenges: Bio-degradable plastics can contaminate recycling streams, as they may not be easily distinguished from traditional plastics. This can create challenges for recycling facilities and reduce the effectiveness of recycling programs.


Bio-degradable plastics made from renewable resources using biotechnology have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of traditional plastics. However, their use must be carefully considered in the context of cost, performance, and recycling challenges.

By continuing to develop new materials and processes for producing biodegradable plastics, we can work towards a more sustainable future for our planet.