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Biopolymers applied to packaging: A brief literature review on their impact on sustainability
The replacement of fossil raw materials by renewable alternatives is imperative. Renewable, biodegradable, and compostable polymers are options to be developed and adopted. Embedded in this concept, the present study evaluates whether biopolymers are sustainable alternatives to replace traditional polymers used in packaging, such as polyethylene. To that end, a systematic literature review (SLR) was carried out on biopolymers applied to packaging, with an analysis of its impacts. Three sustainability criteria were adopted: a) Criteria for Developing Sustainable Packaging; b) Goals of Sustainable Development; and c) Circular Economy Criteria. The Methodology Section presents the state of the art of potential polymers for packaging and their characteristics vis-à-vis the evaluation criteria adopted based on the SLR. Through data collection, it was observed that advanced obtaining techniques enable polymers economically and that, environmentally speaking, there is a positive consensus about some types of those materials. However, technological maturity and productive scale capacity are necessary to reduce costs in a competitive scenario with conventional polymers.
Keywords:packaging, biopolymers, sustainability, circular economy
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