I'm working on a project making a product line more sustainable, environmentally friendly and ready for recycling.

Now I'm searching for good and suitable biopolymers for a part of the product that is made from PVC and one for PU (Polyurethane). For PES I already have chosen PLA. Is there someone who can help me select the right biopolymers with similar characteristics of PVC and PU?

Please let me know, thank you!


2 Answers 2


Ethylene vinyl acetate (also known as EVA) is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate and is a replacement for PVC.

Biomass > (fermentation) > Bioethanol > Ethene

Ethylene + acetic acid + 1/2 O2 → Vinyl acetate + H2O

Tung oil can be used to create a plastic like water proofing film as a replacement for PU

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your reply! :) Maybe I did not ask my question the right way. By biopolymers I mean biobased or biodegradable polymers, like PLA, PHA.. Materials derived from renewable sources such as corn starch, grasses and sugarcane. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 8:06
  • $\begingroup$ Your question is hard to answer because biopolymer is vague, as well as "derived from renewable sources". Almost everything can be derived from a renewable source, it just is more expensive than using petroleum. $\endgroup$
    – Motomotes
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 12:24
  • $\begingroup$ For instance, Clostridium acetobutylicum makes acetone and butanol during fermentation. Those substitutes I listed can be derived from renewable sources. Ethene can be made via the dehydration of ethanol, which of course can be made from fermentation. Acetic acid is also a byproduct of fermentation of certian bacteria. Tung oil is oil pressed from the seed of the Tung tree. Try clicking the links in the answer to see more information. $\endgroup$
    – Motomotes
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ If production of PEVA from renewable sources seems too daunting, wood is probably a good replacement for PVC. Wood is actually a cellulose polymer. You could coat it with Tung oil if you wanted to waterproof it. $\endgroup$
    – Motomotes
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 12:35
  • $\begingroup$ Bioethanol is an ecologic menace of the worst kind. Much worse imo than using regular ethylene from petrol chemistry to make PE. $\endgroup$
    – Karl
    Commented Jul 3, 2019 at 19:12

The common properties of PVC vary wildly with the concentrations of plasticizers and filling reinforcement.

The common properties of PU vary wildly with the choice of isocyanate and cross-link density. PU comes in foams, fibers and hard plastics.

Modifications, copolymers and alloy blends are common with both.

When selecting a plastic, it is useful to gather requirements rather than emulate another plastic.

Some physical properties to look into are: Glass transition, melting/vicat softening point, degradation onset temperature, thermoset/thermoplastic, solvent resistance, transparency, UV-resistance, food/medical-safety, tensile strength and Young's modulus.

With regards to manufacturing some properties to look into are: pot life, working time, tack time, demold time, cure time, cost at scale, shipping and sourcing.

With regards to your question you're also considering if they are biobased(ASTM D6866), their recyclability and their compostability.

The only bioplastic that is highly recycled is HDPE. The only other plastic that is highly recycled is PET. There are probably more recycling operations for other plastics, but they are much smaller in scope.

Compostibility is dominated by starch and cellulose plastics.

As a start, you should visit Matweb for the basic properties of various plastics.


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