Additives (lat. additivum “added, enclosed”), also called auxiliary substances or additives, are substances that are added to products in small quantities to achieve or improve certain properties.



American Society for Testing and Materials


Bagasse is the fibrous remains of sugar production from sugar cane and sorghum millet, which is a by-product of pressing the plant juice. Bagasse consists of 40 to 60 percent cellulose, 20 to 30 percent hemicellulose and about 20 percent lignin.



Biobased or biogenous means that a product is manufactured entirely or partially from renewable raw materials.


Biobased Carbon Content

Content of carbon derived from biomass as a mass fraction of the total organic carbon content of the material. The biobased carbon content is accurately determined by measuring the content of the 14C isotope. This is much higher in renewable resources than in fossil fuels. The method is the basis for the ASTM D-6866 standard: Standard test methods for the determination of the bio-based content of solid, liquid and gaseous samples by radiocarbon analysis. Further standards based on this standard are currently under development. Certificates and certification logos according to ASTM D 6866 are available for materials with different biobased fractions. “Biobased fraction” has the same meaning according to ASTM D 6866-08. The closely related “biomass fraction” is defined as the mass fraction of the biomass based material (CEN/TR 15932:2009).


Biobased plastic

Plastics can be based completely or partially on biomass (= renewable raw materials). The use of renewable raw materials can lead to a higher sustainability of plastics. Although fossil raw materials are natural, they are not sustainable and are not seen as a basis for biobased plastics. For the definition of the biobased portion of plastics, see Biobased carbon content. Biobased materials are often referred to as biomaterials, although in professional use the terms are not synonymous (see Biomaterials). The use of this term as a synonym for the term biobased plastics should therefore be avoided.



Biocompatible (gr. bios = life + compatible = compatible) refers to materials or assemblies that have no negative influence on living organisms in their environment.



Biodegradability refers to the ability of organic chemicals to be biologically decomposed, i.e. decomposed by living organisms (especially saprobionts) or their enzymes. Biodegradability must include the action of living organisms in the degradation process, but abiotic processes may also be involved. Biodegradability is achieved by the action of enzymes, either in the digestive system of living organisms and or by isolated or excreted enzymes. Organisms carry out biodegradation on substrates that are recognised as food and serve as a source of nutrients. The end products of biodegradation are known digestive products such as carbon dioxide, water, biomass or methane. This last step is known as complete biodegradation or bio-mineralization.



bio-based ethanol
Renewable raw material
Ethanol or ethyl alcohol obtained from renewable raw materials.



Material of biological origin, excluding fossil or geological materials (= renewable raw materials). A renewable raw material is a raw material that is re-generated at a rate comparable to that at which it is consumed. Biomass can come from animal, plant or microbial sources.



Bio-Based Polyamide
Not biodegradable
Polyamides are usually made from dicarboxylic acids and diamines. Biobased polyamides are completely or partially biobased, depending on whether the dicarboxylic acid, the diamine, or both are produced from renewable resources. Sebacic acid extracted from castor oil can serve as a monomer for partially biobased polyamides such as PA 4.10 or PA 6.10.



bio-Based Polyethylene
not biodegradable
Ethylene produced from biobased ethanol is used for the synthesis of this drop-in bioplastic. The structurally-chemically identical structure allows the use of biobased PE in existing production and recycling plants. The company Braskem operates the world’s largest industrial-scale production facility for biobased polyethylene from renewable resources in Brazil; in this case sugar cane.



Bio-Based polyethylene terephthalate
Not biodegradable
Due to the substitution of ethylene glycol by biobased ethylene glycol and the use of fossil-based therephthalic acid, only partially biobased Bio-PET is usually produced at present.



Plastic that is biodegradable, bio-based or both*.
The term in the above definition is widely used in the plastics industry, and there are other definitions in the scientific community.
Alternative definition 1: May also mean biocompatible plastics (CEN/TR 15932).
Alternative definition 2: Naturally occurring plastic material. There are very few known bioplastics. One example is polyhydroxyalkanoates – a natural, thermoplastic polyester.

* Definition according to European Bioplastics



Polymer produced by living organisms. Biopolymers (=natural polymers) are important components of living organisms. They mainly include polysaccharides (e.g. cellulose, starch, glycogen, chitin) and proteins (e.g. gluten, collagen, enzymes), nucleic acids (DNA, RNA). Other forms such as lignin and polyester are also included. Definition according to CEN/TR 15932:2009: Fully or partially bio-based polymer.



Bio-Based Polypropylene
Not biodegradable
Biobased polypropylene can be produced from bio-ethanol in the same way as biobased PE, but the process is much more complex.



Bio-based polyurethane


Biowaste Ordinance



In the blending of bioplastics, different bioplastics are mixed as homogeneously as possible. Depending on the requirements, this can result in plastics with significantly improved properties. The most common blends are based on starch, PBAT or PLA.



cellulose acetate, bioplastics

Cellulose acetate is one of the oldest thermoplastics and, as a derivative of the natural material cellulose, is considered a bioplastic. It is mainly processed into textile fibres and fabrics. Due to its high impact resistance, it is also used for moulded parts, e.g. lampshades, spectacle frames, tool handles, ballpoint pens, telephones, toys, packaging films



Carbohydrates or saccharides form a biologically and chemically important substance class. As a product of photosynthesis, carbohydrates make up the largest part of the biomass. Mono-, di- and polysaccharides (including starch and cellulose), together with fats and proteins, make up the quantitatively largest usable and non-usable (dietary fibre) part of the food.


Castor oil

Renewable raw material for sebacic acid for the production of Bio-PA.



Bioplastics, brand name for cellulose hydrate



also celluloid, bioplastics
Celluloid (also known as cell horn) is a group of plastic compounds made from cellulose nitrate and camphor. Celluloid is considered the first thermoplastic.



Renewable raw material
Cellulose (often also cellulose) is the main component of plant cell walls (mass percentage about 50 %) and thus the most common organic compound and also the most common polysaccharide (polysaccharide)



Cellulose hydrate,bioplastics,biodegradable
Cellulose hydrate or cellophane, also known as cellophane, is one of the oldest plastics for packaging that comes into direct contact with food.


Closed Substance Cycle and Waste Management Act


Compostable plastics

Plastics that biodegrade under certain conditions and within the time frame of a composting cycle. Composting is a type of biowaste treatment that takes place under aerobic conditions (presence of oxygen), where the organic material is decomposed by naturally occurring microorganisms. In industrial composting plants, the temperature in the compost heap can reach up to 70 °C. Composting takes place under humid conditions. The composting process takes months. It is important to understand that biodegradable plastics are not necessarily compostable plastics (they may degrade over a longer period of time or under different conditions), whereas compostable plastics are always biodegradable plastics. It is important to define the criteria for compostable plastics, as materials that are not suitable for composting can deteriorate the final quality of the whole compost.


DIN EN 13432 defines the necessary properties of packaging material in order to classify it as compostable.
EN 14995:2006 extends the framework for plastics in applications other than packaging. These standards are the basis for a variety of certification systems.



Composting (also known as rotting) refers to the part of the nutrient cycle in which organic material is broken down by soil organisms (heterotrophic) under the influence of atmospheric oxygen (aerobic). In addition to carbon dioxide, water-soluble minerals are also released, such as nitrates, ammonium salts, phosphates, potassium and magnesium compounds, which act as fertilisers. Some of the intermediate products resulting from this decomposition are converted into humus.



Co-polymers or heteropolymers are polymers that are composed of two or more different monomer units.



CPLA is a modified PLA (polylactic acid) and consists of 100% renewable resources. CPLA is a modified PLA (polylactic acid) and consists of 100% renewable raw materials



Disintegration is the physical breakdown of plastics into very small fragments. For example, particles with a maximum particle size of two millimetres after a composting period under defined conditions are considered degraded. (DIN EN 13432 / A3.1.1)



Certification body of TÜV Rheinland


DIN EN 13432

European standard for requirements for the recovery of packaging through composting and biodegradation.


DIN EN 14855

European standard for determining the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions


DIN EN 14995

European standard for requirements regarding the composting of plastics.



Recommendation for the terminology and characterisation of biopolymers and bioplastics



With drop-in bioplastics, the raw material components of petrochemically produced plastics are replaced by biobased raw material components. In the case of bio-polyethylene, for example, ethylene from crude oil is replaced by ethylene obtained from bio-ethanol



Dual System Germany



Duroplastics, also called duromers, are plastics that cannot be deformed by heating or other measures after they have cured.



Duroplastics, also called duromers, are plastics that cannot be deformed by heating or other measures after they have cured.



Elastomers (sing. the elastomer, also known as elastics) are dimensionally stable but elastically deformable plastics whose glass transition point is below the operating temperature. The plastics can deform elastically under tensile and compressive stress, but then return to their original, undeformed shape. Elastomers are used as material for tyres, rubber bands, sealing rings etc. The best known elastomers are the vulcanizates of natural rubber and silicone rubber.



Fermentation or fermentation (Latin fermentum fermentation” or “sourdough”) refers in biology or biotechnology to the enzymatic conversion of organic substances into acid, gases or alcohol. Fermentation is deliberately used in biotechnology. This is done either by adding bacterial, fungal or other biological cell cultures or by adding enzymes (ferments) which carry out the fermentation as part of their enzyme-catalyzed metabolism. Some of these microorganisms are already naturally present on the starting materials, for example in spontaneous fermentation. Nevertheless, especially in industrial fermentation, pure culture cell cultures are added to improve control of the fermentation process and to exclude undesired by-products.



The FSC® logo indicates to the consumer that the paper is made from wood that comes from responsible forestry. The FSC® logo is awarded by the non-profit organization Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Certificates for forestry management are designated “Forest Management” (FM).


Grass paper

Grass paper is a sustainable substitute that reduces the use of many primary resources in paper production.


Lactic acid

(lat. acidum lacticum) is a hydroxycarboxylic acid that has both a carboxy group and a hydroxy group, modified cellulose, bioplastic. Cellulose was already modified more than 100 years ago to the first bioplastics. The biopolymer cellulose is also a cheap and readily available source of raw materials for modern bioplastics. Cellulose can be used to produce both regenerated cellulose and cellulose derivatives. Well-known examples of cellulose regenerates are viscose, lyocell, modal, rayon, cell glass, cellulose hydrate (CH) or cellophane. Celluloid and cellulose acetate are a well-known representative of cellulose derivatives.


Life cycle assessment

A life cycle analysis (also known as life cycle assessment or LCA) is a systematic analysis of the environmental impacts of products throughout their life cycle (from cradle to grave”). The word LCA stands for a method of assessing the environmental impact of a product and its manufacturing process. The method of “ecological accounting” originated in 1974 from the ecological accounting and the balance methodology of the EMPA in Switzerland, which was presented in 1978. In preparing an ecological balance sheet, the various life stages of the product or process under investigation are examined for their environmental relevance.



Renewable raw material. Lignins (lat. lignum „wood“) form a group of phenolic macromolecules which are composed of different monomer building blocks. They are solid biopolymers that are embedded in the plant cell wall and thus cause the lignification of the cell (lignification). Approximately 20% to 30% of the dry mass of lignified plants consists of lignins, making them the most common organic compounds on earth, along with cellulose and chitin. The total production of lignins is estimated at about 20 billion tons per year.



Mater-Bi is a starch blend based on maize starch, classified as a biodegradable material and processed with the usual methods of plastics processing.


Natural fibre reinforced plastic

Natural fibre reinforced plastic is a fibre-plastic composite of a plastic (e.g. polyester resin, epoxy resin or polyamide) and natural fibres. NFK belongs to the biocomposites within the biomaterials. It is used both as a long-fibre reinforced plastic and as a short-fibre reinforced plastic. Natural fibre-reinforced plastics obtain a stability through the natural fibres incorporated which would not be possible without them. The main area of application is in vehicle construction, especially in the design of trim components in vehicle interiors.


Oxygen barrier

Functional property of plastics.



Polybutylene adipatterephthalate, bioplastic.



Polybutylene succinate, bioplastics. Biodegradable synthetic aliphatic polyester with shares of renewable raw materials (butanediol).



Polybutylene succinate adipate, bioplastics.



Polybutylene succinate terephthalate, bioplastics.



Polycaprolactone is a fossil-based, biodegradable plastic. In the medical field PCL is used for controlled release preparations (retard capsules), medical adhesives and synthetic wound dressings. PCL is manufactured in the USA by DOW and by the Swedish company Perstorp, among others.



Polyethylene furanoate, bioplastics
Polyethylene furanoate is considered a possible 100% bio-based alternative for PET. Its very similar properties make it very likely to be suitable for existing production and recycling processes for beverage bottles.



PEFC is an abbreviation for: Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes, an international forest certification scheme.



polyhydroxyalkanoates, bioplastics
Polyhydroxyalkanoates or polyhydroxy fatty acids are naturally occurring biopolymers. They are synthesized by bacteria under certain environmental conditions as storage substances. Polyhydroxyalkanoates is a collective term for various bioplastics such as PHP, PHB, PHV, PHH, PHO, etc.



Polyhydroxybutyrate or polyhydroxybutyric acid belongs to the group of polyhydroxyalkanotates (PHA). PHB is a polyester that can be produced by fermentation from renewable raw materials. It is a biopolymer and is enriched in a variety of microorganisms as a storage material, e.g. Cupriavidus necator. These bacteria are propagated on a large scale in so-called fermenters with the addition of Under certain environmental conditions, they synthesize the desired biopolymer from sugar, starch, vegetable oils or glycerine. The enriched PHB is isolated from the bacteria cells by extraction.



Polyhydroxyvalerate, bioplastics.



Polyvinyl alcohol, bioplastics

Polyvinyl alcohols have a very wide range of applications as functional polymers, e.g. in special papers, textiles, adhesives, construction industry products, dispersion adhesives and paints, wood primers and cleaning agents.



Polylactides or polylactic acid, bioplastics, biodegradable. Polylactides are lactic acid molecules chemically bound to each other.


Plant starch

Starch is a polysaccharide of plant origin. Starch serves the plants as an energy store (starch is the most important reserve carbohydrate in plants). Starch is almost insoluble in water, so that starch – unlike glucose – is osmotically ineffective (> osmosis). For this reason, glucose is converted into starch in plant cells. There are 2 basic components of starch: a) amylose and b) amylopectin. Starch consists of about 20 to 30 percent amylose and about 70 to 80 percent amylopectin – amylopectin is therefore the main component of starch. Amylopectin is insoluble in water, while amylose is soluble in water.



Polymer-based material which is characterised by its mouldability. The main component of plastics (from the Greek: plastikos – suitable for moulding, plastos – moulded) is a polymer formulated” by adding additives and fillers to produce a technological material – plastic. Plastics are defined by their mouldability – they show a state as a tough “viscous” liquid at some point during processing. Definition according to EN ISO 472: Material which contains a high molecular weight polymer as its main component and which has undergone a plastic state at some point during its processing.


Production capacity

maximum realizable output of existing production facilities.



Polytrimethylene terephthalate, bioplastics

PTT can be produced in a semi-biobased process and has similar processing properties to the high-performance plastic PBT (polybutylene terephthalate). It is used for the production of automotive parts, furniture, mobile phone housings as well as industrial and consumer products.



Polyvinyl butyral, Bioplastic
Polyvinyl butyral belongs to the group of polyvinyl alcohols (PVAL or PVOH) and is often used as a functional polymer in a wide variety of products, e.g. in special papers, textiles, adhesives, construction industry products, dispersion adhesives and paints, wood primers and cleaning agents.



Polyvinyl alcohols, bioplastics. Collective term for all polyvinyl alcohols such as PVAL, PVB, etc.


Radiocarbon method

Method for determining the proportion of biobased carbon in partially biobased products. Test basis for the certification of biobased products.



Processing and reuse of raw materials.


Renewable resources

Organic raw materials originating from agricultural and forestry production and used by humans in a targeted manner for further applications outside the food and feed sector. In contrast, the non-renewable raw material


Bioplastics, biodegradable.
Starch blends are mixtures of thermoplastic starch (TPS) and plastics. These can be based either on crude oil or renewable raw materials. The starch-based material proportion can be between 25 and 70 %. These blends represent one of the largest proportions of bioplastics internationally and vary in their properties depending on their composition.


Sugar beet

The sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) belongs to the foxtail family (Amaranthaceae). Like other beets, it is derived from the wild beet (Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima). The sugar beet was created around the middle of the 18th century by breeding from the beet. The primary selection goal was to increase the sugar content. This could be increased from 8% to 20% in today’s modern sugar beet.


Sugar cane

Sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) is a plant of the sweet grass family (Poaceae) and is assigned to the subfamily Panicoideae with about 3270 other species. Its origin is in East Asia, but today it is cultivated in all climatically suitable regions. The plant is the most important raw material supplier for the production of household sugar (sucrose) and, to an increasing extent, for the production of bioethanol.



Sustainability as a model for process and product development. There are two frameworks in which sustainability is defined. The narrower one relates exclusively to the use of material and energy resources. The other one also takes into account far-reaching social aspects and considers sustainability as a unity of economic, social and resource-related sustainability. The second definition is seen as less well defined because of the arbitrary nature of the parameters and criteria used, while the first one considers more technical aspects. Sustainability is usually described with the definition that emerged from the Rio Conference on Climate Change: to use existing resources efficiently without jeopardizing the ability to meet the needs of present and future generations. A different definition, focused on material and energy renewal, was coined by R. Baum: Sun-based in real time. The point in both definitions is that sustainability is not compatible with an exhaustive consumption of resources. The second definition recognizes the sun as the only source of energy (also needed for biomass procurement).

The main tools for determining sustainability can be grouped into four main categories:

Instruments for sustainable government” (e.g. Global Governance Programme GGP).

Methods and instruments for assessing ecological, economic and social impacts (e.g. Life Cycle Assessment LCA).

Instruments for ecological environmental management and certification (e.g. Eco-Management and Audit Scheme EMAS).

Instruments for sustainable design (e.g. ecodesign).

Sustainability is normally determined by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This is a systematic and objective method for assessing and quantifying the energy and environmental impacts and possible impacts associated with a product, process or activity. The period of consideration is the complete lifetime, from the procurement of raw materials to the end of life (“from cradle to grave”). In this method, all phases of the manufacturing process are considered as interrelated and interdependent in order to capture cumulative ecological impacts. At international level, LCA is defined by the ISO 14040 and ISO 14044 standards. LCA is the main instrument for the introduction of Life Cycle Thinking (LCT). LCT is fundamental as a cultural approach as it involves looking at the entire product chain and identifying opportunities for improvement and innovation. LCA is also known as life cycle analysis, life cycle assessment and cradle to grave analysis.



Tapioca or tapioca starch is a virtually tasteless starch produced from the processed and dried cassava root.



Functional plastic group.



Thermoplastic elastomers.



Thermoplastic starch, bioplastic, biodegradable.

Thermomechanical restructuring of starch grains produces thermoplastic starch (TPS). It is currently one of the most important and most common representatives of bioplastics. It is in turn a raw material for various starch blends. These can be processed in the form of granules on existing equipment to produce films, injection-moulded articles or coatings.


Vincotte is a Belgian certification body for the degradability of plastics.


Waste Products

In principle, waste products are all substances that are created during the extraction, processing and refinement of raw materials. They vary greatly in terms of properties and quantity depending on the raw material, the mining region or deposit and the process. In general, the aim is to keep the proportion of waste products as low as possible by using the materials and other substances produced during resource extraction and, in a broader sense, also energy and heat.



Wood-Plastic-Composites (WPC) are thermoplastic composites made from different proportions of wood (typically wood flour), plastics and additives. They are usually processed using modern plastics technology methods such as extrusion, injection moulding, rotational moulding or by means of pressing techniques, but also by thermoforming.


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