The uses of biodegradable polymers include:

1) Packaging materials:

Cellulose acetate and starch based polymers are often used in a variety of packaging materials.[1]


cellulose_bioplastic.jpg

Figure 1[2] : Packaging material for in this figure is made by cellulose acetate polymer.

thermoplastic_starch_packaging_peanuts.jpg

Figure 2[2]: Thermoplastic starch polymers used as packaging peanuts.
2) Biomedical applications:
These include use of biopolymers as sutures, clips, bone and implants.[1] Examples of such kinds of polymers are polyglycolytic acid and polylactic acid. Some biodegradable polymers are also used in drug delivery. Polymers used for biomedical applications need to be biocompatible. Some of these polymers are extremely interesting as they degrade and dissolve in the body and they don't have to be removed from the body after their medical usage is complete.

biodegradable_joint_implant.jpg

Figure 3[3] : The first biodegradable joint implant made out of a copolymer of polylactide potentially used as a treatment for arthritis

3) Other applications[1] :
Biodegradable polymers are used in detergents. Polymeric carboxlic acids such as polyacrylic polymers are used in such applications.Biodegradable polymers also find uses in agriculture and veterinery medicine.

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  1. ^ Amass W, Amass A, Tighe B. 1998. A review of biodegradable polymers: uses, current developments in the synthesis and characterization of biodegradable polyesters, blends of biodegradable polymers and recent advances in biodegradation studies. Polymer International. 47:89-114.
  2. ^ Bioplastic. Wikipedia. [Cited 2010 April 8]. Available from:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic
  3. ^ Gizmag. [2012 Feb]. World's first biodegradable joint implant grows new joints. [Internet] Coxworth B. [Cited 2012 April 8]. Available from:http://www.gizmag.com/regjoint-biodegradable-joint-implant/21655/