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Cassava as an Ideal Bioplastic

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Before I acknowledge the people who supported this Science Investigatory Project, I dedicate this project for the people who believe on the quote which is “Less is more”. I shall formally dictate all the people who supported this Science Investigatory Project, first and foremost, God who have given us the time ,the strength or determination to finish this project and thanking him for his holy support, secondly our parents for the financial and moral support that made much for our project and most of all their patience towards us, on the way, we whole heartedly thank the most reliable sources though some other sources were made by anonymous persons, still we blindly give thanks to them, Wikipedia for the additional sources, (magdagdag kayo ng ibang researchers dito, before the coma), I shall acknowledge the persons who paved way on giving this project, a very innovative on constructing special structures such as vases and many more.Lastly our members who gave their full attention to this project, their full determination to fulfill this long endured and awaited project. Let this project be the success of the innovative bio plastics.



Background of the Study

Plastics are used because they are very useful, cheap, manageable and handy. Plastics have been the fastest growing basic material because they are versatile, light weight, energy saving, durable and recyclable. It has become a popular material used in a wide variety of ways. Plastics can last a long time but unfortunately, this same useful quality can make plastic a huge pollution problem. Its long life means it survives in the environment for long periods where it can do great harm. Non-biodegradable plastics are durable but they degrade very slowly; molecular bonds that make plastic so durable make it equally resistant to natural process of degradation. Plastic packaging provides excellent protection for the product, it is cheap to manufacture and seems to last forever. Lasting forever, however, is proving to be a major environmental problem. Plastics are also a huge problem in waste disposal and studies have been made to find a substitute material which can be used in making biodegradable plastics.

Because plastic does not decompose, and requires high energy ultra-violet light to break down, the amount of plastic waste in our oceans is steadily increasing. Studies that have been done locally show about 3, 500 particles of plastic per square kilometer of sea off the southern African coast. The world production of plastic is estimated to be more than 100 million tons per year. Plastics are indeed a threat to wild life. A great proof for this is that plastics have been found in the stomachs of sea turtles, birds, and fish all over the world. Tragically, millions of tons of plastic are poisoning our oceans. Plastic pollution harms people, animals, and the environment because it is non-biodegradable. In the marine environment, plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain that we depend on. People need alternative and effective components of plastic that is safe and biodegradable which will not harm and pollute the earth.

Significance of the Study

This study is important to be able to help Mother Earth in reducing its pollutants and toxic or harmful wastes. Through this study, the researchers will be able to help other people, the animals and the environment. The researchers would like to stop plastic pollution and be part of the solution. Plastic bags and bottles, like all forms of plastic, create significant environmental and economic burdens. They consume growing amounts of energy and other natural resources, degrading the environment in numerous ways. In addition to using up fossil fuels and other resources, plastic products create litter, hurt marine life, and threaten the basis of life on earth. There is over 45 million tons of plastics per year and nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists today because of its long-life properties. Biodegradable plastics could be an effective solution to all of these problems. Biodegradable plastics are a much better choice than non-biodegradable plastics because they are friendlier to the earth and the environment.

Biodegradable plastics break down faster, can be recycled easier and are non-toxic. With these characteristics of biodegradable plastics, we could help save lives and the environment as well and reduce the threat plastics give to marine life. Plastic, the wonder material that we use for everything, is perhaps the most harmful of this trash because it does not readily break down in nature but if it is biodegradable, these plastics break down faster so they have a much shorter effect on the earth, and they will degrade completely. Normal plastics are manufactured using oil, and this process is very harmful to the environment by polluting the air and environment, but this is not the case with green biodegradable plastics. Using biodegradable plastics will minimize the effects that these products have on the earth, and help eliminate their waste much faster.

Significance of the Study

Scope and Limitations

This experiment only covers plastic bags, not including other plastic materials such as plastic containers, plastic cups, straws and other plastic utensils. The experiment can be done in a matter of 2 hours, excluding the sun-drying procedure. Most of the materials used in the experiment are accessible and can be bought in supermarkets. However, there are a few which are not available in nearby stores. Premix Polyester Resin and Polymer MEKP Hardener are manufactured by Polymer Products (Phil) Inc. and can be bought in Bagong Ilog, Pasig City.



In the past few decades, there has been a marked advance in the development of biodegradable plastics from renewable resources, especially for those derived from starch-based materials. The goal of this development is to obtain biodegradable plastics that perform as well as traditional plastics when in use and which completely biodegrade at disposal. Several starch-based plastics have been introduced into the market, and are used in some applications now. Starch foam is one of the major starch-based packaging materials. It is produced by extrusion or compression/explosion technology. This product has been developed as a replacement for polystyrene which is used to produce loose-fillers and other expanded items.

Another type of starch-based plastics is produced by blending or mixing starch with synthetic polyester. For this type of biodegradable plastics, granular starch can be directly blended with polymer, or its granular structure can be destructurized before being incorporated into the polymer matrix. The type of starch and synthetic polymer as well as their relative proportions in the blends influence the properties of the resulting plastics. The last group of starch-based plastics is polyesters that are produced from starch. The major starch-derived polyesters in the market now are polylactic acid and polyhydroxyalkanoate. Experimental studies have demonstrated that cassava starch could be used for making various types of packaging products. As a major source of starch in tropical and subtropical regions, cassava is a promising raw material for the development of biodegradable plastics in these areas.

Research has been done on biodegradable plastics that break down with exposure to sunlight (e.g., ultra-violet radiation), water or dampness, bacteria, enzymes, wind abrasion and some instances rodent pest or insect attack are also included as forms of biodegradation or environmental degradation. It is clear some of these modes of degradation will only work if the plastic is exposed at the surface, while other modes will only be effective if certain conditions exist in landfill or composting systems. Starch powder has been mixed with plastic as a filler to allow it to degrade more easily, but it still does not lead to complete breakdown of the plastic. Some researchers have actually genetically engineered bacteria that synthesize a completely biodegradable plastic, but this material, such as Biopol, is expensive at present.

The diversity and ubiquity of plastic products substantially testify to the versatility of the special class of engineering materials known as polymers. However, the non-biodegradability of these petrochemical-based materials has been a source of environmental concerns and hence, the driving force in the search for ‘green’ alternatives for which starch remains the frontliner. Starch is a natural biopolymer consisting predominantly of two polymer types of glucose namely amylose and amylopectin. The advantages of starch for plastic production include its renewability, good oxygen barrier in the dry state, abundance, low cost and biodegradability.

The longstanding quest of developing starch-based biodegradable plastics has witnessed the use of different starches in many forms such as native granular starch, modified starch, plasticized starch and in blends with many synthetic polymers, both biodegradable and non-biodegradable, for the purpose of achieving cost effectiveness and biodegradation respectively. In this regard, starch has been used as fillers in starch-filled polymer blends, thermoplastic starch (TPS) (produced from the combination of starch, plasticizer and thermo mechanical energy), in the production of foamed starch and biodegradable synthetic polymer like polylactic acid (PLA) with varying results. However, most starch-based composites exhibit poor material properties such as tensile strength, yield strength, stiffness and elongation at break, and also poor moisture stability. This therefore warranted

scientific inquiries towards improving the properties of these promising starch-based bio composites through starch modification, use of compatibilizers and reinforcements (both organic and inorganic), processing conditions, all in the hope of realizing renewable biodegradable substitutes for the conventional plastics.

• 2 Cassava Tubers

• 180 ml of Premix Polyester Resin

• 300 ml of Polymer MEKP Hardener

• 100 grams Petroleum Jelly

• 3 old shirts

• Measuring cup

• Grater

• Plastic Spoon

• Knife

• 3 Plastic Containers

• Chopping board


1. Gather the Cassava Tubers. Ground and squeeze it to extract the starch.

2. Get hold of 240 grams of the starch and divide it into 3 equal parts: 80 grams in trial 1, trial 2 and trial 3.

3. Place 60 ml of the plastic resin glue (Premix Polyester Resin) with 50 grams of flour catalyst for T1, 75 grams for T2 and 125 grams in T3.

4. Mix and stir the components and pour it in the shirt with Petroleum Jelly and let it dry under the sun.

5. To test its capacity to carry weight, use the plastic to carry objects.

6. For its ability to hold water, put water inside the plastic.

7. To test its tensile and bending properties, stretch the plastic as far as you can.

8. Repeat steps 5-7 using T2 and T3.

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