Benchmarking bioplastics: a natural step towards a sustainable future

Geetika Bhagwat, Kelsey Gray, Scott P. Wilson, Sudhakar Muniyasamy, Salom Gnana Thanga Vincent, Richard Bush, Thava Palanisami*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    The ubiquitous presence of plastic litter and its tending fate as marine debris have given rise to a strong anti-waste global movement which implicitly endorses bioplastics as a promising substitute. With ‘corporate social responsibility’ growing ever more popular as a business promotional tool, companies and businesses are continually making claims about their products being “green”, “environmentally friendly”, “biodegradable”, or “100% compostable”. Imprudent use of these words creates a false sense of assurance at the consumer end about them being responsible towards the environment by choosing these products. The policies surrounding bioplastics regulation are neither stringent not enforceable at both national and international stage which indirectly allow these “safe words” to be used as an easy plug to validate the supposed corporate social responsibility. Similar to conventional plastics, unregulated and mismanaged bioplastics could potentially create another environmental mayhem. Therefore, it is a crucial time to harness the power of law to set applicable standards with a high threshold for the classification of “bioplastics”, which companies can aspire to, and customers can trust. In this review, we analyse the multifarious international bioplastics standards, critically assess the potential shortcomings and highlight how the intersection of law with science and technology is crucial towards the reform of bioplastics regulation.

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    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3055-3075
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Polymers and the Environment
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


    • Bioplastics
    • Bio-based plastics
    • Bioplastic policies
    • Plastic pollution
    • Bioplastic standards
    • Biodegradable
    • Global policies


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