Dec 28/20

What Is Shrilk and Why Do Biodegradable Polymers Matter?

biodegradable polymer


The auto industry is the third-largest consumer of polymers. That’s why new trends in plastics have such a robust effect on your business. The rise of biodegradable polymer technology is no exception.

The auto industry has used plastics for vehicle production since the 1960s. But a seachange is coming. Say goodbye to traditional polymers because bioplastics are the future of the industry.

Here’s why.

Biodegradable Polymer Production Requires Fewer Fossil Fuels

Policies regulating manufacturers’ use of fossil fuels are ramping up. Carbon taxing could soon make it too costly to produce traditional plastics. And extracting and refining fossil fuels is already notoriously energy-intensive.

That’s why many companies are turning to biodegradable polymers.

Manufacturers produce biodegradable plastics from natural materials like cellulose, corn starch, and milk. Harvesting these materials requires far fewer resources. Plus, bioplastic production uses 62%–68% less fossil fuel compared to traditional plastics.

Less energy and fewer resources equate to lower production costs and carbon emissions. Ultimately, that means cheaper materials and higher margins for your business.

Biodegradable Plastics Decompose Faster Than Traditional Plastics

The average vehicle is 15%–20% plastic. That means that, for every car the auto industry produces, it’s also producing 600 pounds of non-biodegradable waste.

Biodegradable polymer waste is different — it’s compostable. All you have to do is bury a bioplastic vehicle part in compost. The part will break down at a significantly faster rate than traditional plastics.

Limitations of Biodegradable Polymers

The benefits of biodegradable plastics don’t come without some downsides. For example, manufacturers produce bioplastics from materials like corn. And growing corn requires space, labor, and additional resources.

Another issue with the biodegradable polymers currently on the market? They aren’t always as natural as they seem.

Some bioplastics still contain harmful chemicals. Upon degradation, these toxins get into the soil and contribute to pollution.

Luckily, there are bioplastics like shrilk to overcome these drawbacks.

Shrilk: The Ultimate Bioplastic

Shrilk is a biodegradable polymer discovered by Harvard’s Wyss Institute. The inventors designed it to mimic an insect’s exoskeleton.

Shrilk production utilizes our planet’s second-most abundant natural material, chitin. This makes for more sustainable manufacturing compared to other bioplastics on the market. Making polymers from chitin should also help cut plastics production costs.

Another upside of shrilk plastics is that they’re good for the environment. Once composted, this material breaks down into a nitrogenous fertilizer. That fertilizer improves soil condition, leaving the world a better place than you found it.

Move Your Business Into the Future With Mayco

A biodegradable polymer like shrilk is your answer to increasing carbon taxes and fossil fuel regulations. They’ll help you cut production costs, meaning cheaper parts and higher margins for your business.

Are you searching for a supplier to take your company into the future? Mayco International is the partner you need. We’re headquartered in Michigan, but have affiliates worldwide. Call us today to learn more about our automotive manufacturing services.