Renewable feedstock

Today, bioplastics are mostly made of carbohydrate-rich plants, such as corn or sugar cane, so called food crops or first-generation feedstock. First-generation feedstock is currently the most efficient for the production of bioplastics, as it requires the least amount of land to grow and produces the highest yields.

The bioplastics industry is also researching the use of non-food crops (second and third generation feedstock), such as cellulose and algae, with a view to its further use to produce bioplastics materials. Innovative technologies focus on non-edible by-products of the production of food crops, which inevitably generate large amounts of cellulosic by-products, such as straw, corn stover or bagasse which are usually left on the field where they biodegrade at a quantity much higher than is necessary to restore the soil carbon pool. Ideally, they are used to produce energy needed for the conversion of feedstock. This leaves significant potential for using biotechnological processes to create platform chemicals for industrial purposes – amongst them the production of bioplastics.