What is biopolyethylene?
Biopolyethylene is a biobased plastic which is commonly utilized for containers. The containers are widely used in the cosmetics industry for shampoos and other cleaning products. While conventional polyethylene is made from petroleum, biopolyethylene is derived from sugar cane processing. This greatly alleviates oil dependency. However, this alternative process does not cause the loss of properties. Biopolyethylene retains properties which mirror petroleum-based polyethylene.
The feedstock for biopolyethylene is sugar cane. The use of sugar cane has extensive environmental benefits. By reducing petroleum use, environmental damage is minimized. Furthermore, sugar cane sequesters a large amount of CO2 during growth. By the time the biopolyethylene is produced, a net reduction of CO2 is achieved. Over 1.5 billion pounds of CO2 per year are consumed by the process.
How is biopolyethylene produced
Biopolyethylene is made from ethanol. The ethanol is a product of sugar cane fermentation. Once the ethanol is produced, it is processed to remove the alcohol group. The dehydration process results in ethylene, a two carbon molecule. Finally, the ethylene is polymerized into chains to form polyethylene. Biopolyethylene is available in many grades, including high density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), and low density polyethylene (LDPE).