Degradation of bioplastics in different environments

  • Research project
Jeffrey Buter in ZAP Lab.jpg

Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) are biopolymers produced by bacteria. These biopolymers can be used to produce bioplastics. In this project, Circular Chain for Biopolymers, the aim is to find out what happens to plastics made with PHA at the end of their life cycle. What happens if this plastic ends up in nature? The researchers in this project will analyse the degradation of PHA in different environments to find out what impact the material has on nature.

PHA is a promising alternative to traditional plastics because it is biodegradable, and has a number of advantageous properties such as its strength, flexibility, and versatility. However, like with traditional plastics, it's inevitable that PHA products will end up as litter in nature. But if this happens, what (negative) effects will it have? This project looks at how bioplastics degrade at a molecular level. It hopes to measure the impact the degradation has and how the process can be accelerated. Finally, it will investigate how the material that's left after the degradation can be recycled to make PHA-based products circular.

See our publications.


Our team

Fields of interest

  • Environment