The interest in biopolymers is growing fast. Biopolymers such as TPS (thermoplastic starch), PLA, PHB find more and more industrial applications. While starch based products are most often used in packaging applications, the biopolyester are more often applied in higher value and more durable applications such as for instance technical textiles, or combined with natural fibres in biobased composites. Such types of applications are amongst others investigated in previous or running CORNET projects such as NATUREWINS and Biobased Self Reinforced composites (BIO-SRPC).
End-of-life possibilities of biopolymer based consumer products
The first interest of using biopolymers is the fact that they are renewable and are not (or less) contributing to the depletion of the oil resources. This certainly contributes to limit the carbon–footprint of a product, but in addition the revalorisation of the materials at their end-of-life should be taken into account as well in order to optimise the eco-efficiency of products. Although the mentioned biopolymers can be composted, this is in general not the most attractive end-of-life solutions, since any revalorisation of the product takes place.
BIO-EOL was finished at the end of 2015 and has lead to some very interesting research results about the mechanical properties of recycled biopolymers.