GLOSSARY 2018-01-12T06:10:15+00:00


1st, 2nd, 3rd Generation Feedstocks

Feedstocks are often referred to as 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation. This denotes the development stage and bio resource that they were taken from. 1st generation were taken from food-based crops, 2nd generation use feedstocks not used for human consumption (i.e. biomass), and 3rd generation will move further to non-land based crops, such as algae.


Has the potential to be broken down with the use of organisms.


Renewable organic matter, such as agricultural crops, crop-waste residues, wood, animal and municipal wastes.


A plastic created from either a part percentage or 100% natural renewable resources.


Biopolymers are polymers that occur in nature such as plants, trees, bacteria, algae, or other renewable resources that are based on long chains of molecules linked together through a chemical bond.


A polymer created from either a part percentage or 100% natural renewable resources for the manufacture into synthetic fibers.

Bio Economy 

Refers to all economic activity derived from scientific and research activity focused on biotechnology. In other words, understanding mechanisms and processes at the genetic and molecular levels and applying this understanding to creating or improving industrial processes.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

A gas that has become an environmental concern. CO2 does not directly impair human health, but is a “greenhouse gas” that traps the earth’s heat and contributes to the potential for global warming.


For a material to be certified compostable, it needs to conform to 4 basic criteria: 1) material characteristic; 2) biodegradation; 3) disintegration; and 4) ecotoxicity.

Drop-in process

When a bio resource/chemistry can be utilized in existing methodology without modification to process, technology or output.

End-of-life (EOL)

Is a term used with respect to the time at which a product comes to the end of its intended life. The responsible management of a product’s end-of-life is a core component of product stewardship.


A raw material that supplies or fuels an industrial process.


The enzymatic transformation by micro-organisms of organic compounds, such as sugars. It is usually accompanied by the evolution of gas, as in the fermentation of glucose into ethanol and CO2.

Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)

An organism or micro-organism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering.


Glucose and sugars are taken directly from sugar-based crops. In the case of starch-based crops, glucose and sugars are broken down from the plants. Fermented sugars can be processed further into Ethanol, Butanol, Succinic Acid, and other chemical building blocks for biopolymers.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

A technique for assessing the potential environmental impacts of a product during part/all of its lifetime.


A molecule of low molecular weight that, when reacted with identical or different molecules, forms polymers.

Partially bio

When the two chemical building blocks used come from a mixture of petroleum and bio resources, the polymer is referred to as partially bio. This is different from a polymer or yarn that is blended at a later stage to combine two or more materials.


A compound of high molecular weight that is formed through the polymerization of many monomers.


Has the ability to renew on a frequent basis. In respect of raw materials this relates to plants that have a natural ability to be renewed frequently within a set period of time. This is not the same as a recycled fiber, such as rPET.

Renewable content

The amount of carbon in the material as a percentage of the total weight of the material.

Sustainability and biosynthetics

The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative states that biosynthetics that are “more sustainable” than others are those that are:

  • Sourced from certified sustainably grown and harvested cropland or forests.
  • Manufactured without hazardous inputs and impacts.
  • Healthy and safe for the environment during use.
  • Designed to be reutilized at the end of their intended use, such as via recycling or composting.



BTX is an acronym that stands for Benzene, Toluene and Xylene. Bio BTX is BTX produced from biomass. The molecules are identical to the BTX from fossil energy sources, but made from biogenic feedstock.


Mono Ethylene Glycol (bio-MEG) is one of the components of PET from biomass.

Polyamide 11 (PA11)

A polymer created from the polymerization of C7 and C11 atoms, derived from the castor oil plant.

Polylactic Acid (PLA)

PLA is aliphatic polyester made from polymerized lactic acid, derived from starch. Brand names for this polymer include Ingeo (NatureWorks LLC), and Biofront™ (Teijin).

Polyethylene Terephalate (PET)

A polyester polymer which is composed by two monomers 30wt% of monoethylene glycol (MEG) and 70wt% of terephthalic acid (TPA).

  • 100% Bio: When the two monomers, MEG and  TPA are both derived from biobased resources.
  • Partially Bio: When the MEG is derived from biobased resources only and the TPA from petroleum resources.
Polytrimethylene Terephthalate (PTT)

A polymer created from the polymerization of 1,3-propanediol and terephthalic acid (TPA). A partial biobased PTT is possible where the biobased 1,3-propanediol is created from sugar and the TPA is petroleum based.

Terephthalic Acid (TPA)

TPA is a commodity chemical, used principally as a precursor to the production of polyester (PET).


Biobased Content (EU)

The “Biobased Content Certification Scheme” is the European certification scheme that enables independent assessment of claims about the bio-based content of products based on the European standard EN 16785-1.


Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA)

The BFA seeks to help guide the responsible selection of feedstocks for biobased plastics in order to encourage a more sustainable flow of materials, helping to create lasting value for present and future generations.


BioPreferred Program (USA)

Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the BioPreferred program is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products.


European Bioplastics

European Bioplastics serves as both knowledge partner and business network for companies, experts, and all relevant stakeholder groups of the bioplastics industry.


Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB)

A global, multi-stakeholder independent organization that drives the development of a new world bioeconomy through sustainability solutions, certification, and collaborative partnerships.


Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative (SBC)

The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative is dedicated to spurring the introduction and use of biobased products that are sustainable from cradle to cradle.