Starch-based Plastics

Starch or amylum is a carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as an energy store. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and is contained in large amounts in staple foods such as potatoes, wheat, maize (corn), rice, and cassava.

Bioplastics based on starch use the benefits of natural polymerization and the availability of raw material and process technology.

Thermoplastic starch currently represents the most widely used bioplastic, constituting about 50 percent of the bioplastics market. Simple starch bioplastic can be made at home. Pure starch is able to absorb humidity, and is thus a suitable material for the production of drug capsules by the pharmaceutical sector. Flexibiliser and plasticiser such as sorbitol and glycerine can also be added so the starch can also be processed thermo-plastically. The characteristics of the resulting bioplastic (also called “thermo-plastical starch”) can be tailored to specific needs by adjusting the amounts of these additives.