Bio-Polyethylene (Bio-PE), Bio-Polypropylene (Bio-PP) and Bio-Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (Bio-PET): Recent Developments in Bio-Based Polymers Analogous to Petroleum-Derived Ones for Packaging and Engineering Applications
In recent year, there has been increasing concern about the growing amount of plastic waste coming from daily life. Different kinds of synthetic plastics are currently used for an extensive range of needs, but in order to reduce the impact of petroleum-based plastics and material waste, considerable attention has been focused on &ldquo;green&rdquo; plastics. In this paper, we present a broad review on the advances in the research and development of bio-based polymers analogous to petroleum-derived ones. The main interest for the development of bio-based materials is the strong public concern about waste, pollution and carbon footprint. The sustainability of those polymers, for general and specific applications, is driven by the great progress in the processing technologies that refine biomass feedstocks in order to obtain bio-based monomers that are used as building blocks. At the same time, thanks to the industrial progress, it is possible to obtain more versatile and specific chemical structures in order to synthetize polymers with ad-hoc tailored properties and functionalities, with engineering applications that include packaging but also durable and electronic goods. In particular, three types of polymers were described in this review: Bio-polyethylene (Bio-PE), bio-polypropylene (Bio-PP) and Bio-poly(ethylene terephthalate) (Bio-PET). The recent advances in their development in terms of processing technologies, product development and applications, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, are reported.