Corn and Other Agricultural Products Used in Bioplastics ManufactureBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · October 19, 2011
Corn, a traditional component of horse feed, has found a wider use in the manufacture of bioplastics. Traditionally made from petroleum, plastics are increasingly biobased, which means they are made from renewable resources. The newest forms are also completely biodegradable.
Corn was one of the first grains used in the manufacture of bioplastics, and feed industry leaders were thrown into competition for a finite supply of grain. A positive note for feed manufacturers and horse owners is that many other plant materials besides corn are now being used to make bioplastics. While there is still competition from the plastics industry for feed grains and oilseeds, plastic can also be made from straw, switchgrass, pine bark, and corn husks. Researchers are investigating methods of using agricultural waste such as orange peels, potato peels, and oat hulls. Surplus stores of wheat, a less popular horse feed ingredient than corn, are also being utilized.
In the fast-growing bioplastics industry, end products include packaging materials, toys automobile parts, electronic components, and carpeting. While Europe leads in bioplastic research, development, and sales, the number of production facilities is experiencing the fastest growth in Asia and South America.