Starch-Based Bioplastics
Aviva Mei
Sir Winston Churchill Secondary
Floor Location : M 016 V

Plastics are a very important part of our daily lives. They’re lightweight, inexpensive, not to mention easily manufactured. As a consequence petroleum-based plastics are widely produced over the past decades, and the current levels of their usage and disposal have caused negative environmental effects and will only continue if we continue their usage. In order to create an alternative to the typical plastics made from petroleum, I have made bioplastics (biodegradable plastics) and compared them. Plastics are made with at least one polymer and plasticizer and bioplastics should be no different. For my project, I used different starches (corn, potato, tapioca, wheat) as polymers and researched the properties of different materials to find possible plasticizers and created bioplastics out of them. Through trial and error I was able to create a batch of successful plastic using glycerol, water, and vinegar. With the successful batch of bioplastics, I conducted experiments to find the strongest and has the fastest decomposition rate. I compared their tensile strengths through the formula: Tensile strength (Pa) = force (N) / area (m^2). I then put the same amount of each sample of bioplastic in soil and observed as they decomposed to find which starch-based bioplastic has the fastest decomposition rate.