Recent Advances in Sustainable Plastic Upcycling and Biopolymers

Yu Jung Sohn, Hee Taek Kim, Kei Anne Baritugo, Seo Young Jo, Hye Min Song, Se Young Park, Su Kyeong Park, Jiwon Pyo, Hyun Gil Cha, Hoyong Kim, Jeong Geol Na, Chulhwan Park, Jong Il Choi, Jeong Chan Joo, Si Jae Park

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Advances in scientific technology in the early twentieth century have facilitated the development of synthetic plastics that are lightweight, rigid, and can be easily molded into a desirable shape without changing their material properties. Thus, plastics become ubiquitous and indispensable materials that are used in various manufacturing sectors, including clothing, automotive, medical, and electronic industries. However, strong physical durability and chemical stability of synthetic plastics, most of which are produced from fossil fuels, hinder their complete degradation when they are improperly discarded after use. In addition, accumulated plastic wastes without degradation have caused severe environmental problems, such as microplastics pollution and plastic islands. Thus, the usage and production of plastics is not free from environmental pollution or resource depletion. In order to lessen the impact of climate change and reduce plastic pollution, it is necessary to understand and address the current plastic life cycles. In this review, “sustainable biopolymers” are suggested as a promising solution to the current plastic crisis. The desired properties of sustainable biopolymers and bio-based and bio/chemical hybrid technologies for the development of sustainable biopolymers are mainly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900489
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • biopolymers
  • plastics recycling
  • sustainability


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