Bio-based plastics are made in whole or partially from renewable biological resources. For example, sugar cane is processed to produce ethylene, which can then be used to manufacture for example polyethylene. Starch can be processed to produce lactic acid and subsequently polylactic acid (PLA).
The properties of bio-based plastics can vary considerably from material to material. Bio-based or partly bio-based durable plastics, so called "drop-in bioplastics”, such as bio-based or partly bio-based PE, PET or PVC, possess identical properties to their conventional versions. These bio-based plastics cannot be distinguished from conventional plastics other than by scientific analyses.
Bio-based plastics, such as starch blends, PLA, bio-PET and bio-PE, are mostly used in packaging applications. They are also used in fibres in the textiles sector. Bio-based succinic acid is suitable for several applications in sports and footwear, automotive, packaging, agriculture, non-wovens and fibres applications. In 2016, around 4.2 million tonnes of bio-based applications are produced annually; this is expected to increase to 6.1 million tonnes by 2021
(Bio-Based World News).
For more information, see: www.european-bioplastics.org