Stick a fork in it: biodegradable products
# Making Bioplastic
Students create and test the durability of biobased plastic.
# Testing decomposition rates
Students test the rate of decomposition of samples of materials. In between measuring the rate of decomposition, students watch the Bioproducts career video and take the Bioproducts e-learning course.
# Conflicts in Chemistry: The Case of Plastics
From the Chemical Heritage Foundation, with funding from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. Students participate in a case study hearing regarding a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulation to reduce plastic waste in the United States. All resources and instructions are found at chemheritage.org.
A biobased bioplastic contains carbon (some or all) produced from a renewable plant (or sometimes animal) source. Biodegradable plastics are those that degrade into carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and water (H2O) through biological action in a defined environment and in a defined timescale. These environments include composting, anaerobic digestion, marine and soil environments. A common misconception is that “biobased” and “biodegradable” are related but they are not. A bio-plastic that is biobased may not necessarily be biodegradable, and a biodegradable bioplastic may not be biobased.
The biobased content of a bioplastic can be reported in several ways. The most common is based on a weight-percent of renewable resource content. The second most common is as a percent biobased carbon content in the bioplastic. This measurement is the basis for certification under the USDA BioPreferred Program, a federal program that promotes the purchase and use of biobased products.
Next gen science standards
Science and engineering practices
- Asking questions (for science) and defining problems (for engineering)
- Analyzing and interpreting data
- Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information
- Scale, proportion, and quantity
Disciplinary core ideas/content
- PS4C Information technologies and instrumentation
- ETS2 Links among Engineering, technology, science and society