Introduction: Easy Biodegradable Plastic

Picture of Easy Biodegradable Plastic

Now lots of products are made out of plastic. A lot of it is throw away and will stay in garbage dumps of thousands of years. Biodegradable plastic, unlike normal plastic made from petroleum, will decompose and become part of the soil. This Instructable will show you how one easy way to make some biodegradable plastic.

Step 1: Gather the Materials

Picture of Gather the Materials

This are lists of materials and tools needed to make the biodegradable plastic:

-Corn Starch
-Cooking Oil

-Spoon/Something To Measure With
-Microwavable Container

Step 2: Proportions

The proportions to make the plastic are:

1 TBSP Corn Starch: 1.5 TBSP Water: 3-5 Drops Cooking Oil

Step 3: Preparations

Picture of Preparations

Mix the ingredients together to form a milky looking liquid. Once you have done this it is ready to be microwaved.

Step 4: Microwaving

Put the mixture in the microwave and set the microwave on high for 25-30 seconds. The mixture should start to bubble and should become slightly transparent. Keep an eye on the mixture to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Step 5: Molding the Plastic

Picture of Molding the Plastic

When it looks slightly transparent, take it out. Let it cool a bit so you can handle it. Then knead the plastic until it is soft and can be molded like play-dough. Now you can mold it into whatever shape you want it to be. Once molded leave it for about 24 Hrs. for it to cure and become solid. It's best to keep the surface from drying out while it is curing. The image below is the plastic when shaped.

Step 6: Ideas

-You can add food coloring to give the biodegradable plastic some color.

-You can use it to make plant pots so you start the plants indoors and when they've grow you can put them in the ground.


ShramanD1 (author)2015-09-13

I was wondering what chemical reaction it takes to make this bioplastic?

Water and heat make the starch polymers unfold and line up like normal plastic polymers (it's called gelatinization). Once this takes place, starch can be modeled in to what ever shape you want. Unfortunately, without adding other fillers, this plastic will break very easily and will melt in water. Not sure what the oil is for...

patpat23 (author)ChristopherP2242017-12-06

Hello, it looks like you are very smart. Do you know the specific reason for why are the proportions this way?


wbraun1 (author)2017-05-01

I want to use this in a form made up a form made from schedule 40 PVC double walled tube, to make a biodegradable round tube with a closed end approximately 6" long and 2" OD. Can I use a regular oven in place of a microwave and at a temp of approximately 130 degrees (so not to melt the PVC).

wbraun1 (author)2017-05-01

Sounds great. My mold is Schedule 40 PVC and I am afraid the microwaving will damage the mold.

Suggestions please.

MatildaLexie (author)2017-02-06

i'm agree

msminnamouse (author)2017-01-14

Thanks! This is perfect for what I need!!!

pete.hohensee (author)2016-09-06

It was hard to work with. Kept sticking to my fingers.

Dust your hands with corn starch.

im ok (author)2016-12-18

I made this and i want to experiment with it.

The flower pot idea is great but you would need a lot of the stuff to make one

Hakinna (author)2016-07-12

I made this, but didn't take any photos. I doubled the recipe and it turned out nice. It's slightly transparent, about the texture of stress putty, and actually smells like tortillas (It's the corn starch). I like it, and will make again

AnisS10 (author)2016-03-03

I needed this for my exam so you saved my grades bro. You are LITERALLY AN ANGEL

WilliamS183 (author)2016-02-15

bloody wow . tech is going mad this year. well done. this substance has made my brain spin and the business ops are just mad. thank you for making me money.

Kyaw Ko KoH (author)2016-01-13


Kyaw Ko KoH (author)2016-01-13


rmdholmes (author)2015-07-22

What can it be used to serve? Can it be used to serve hot tea or coffee?

MakenzieS (author)2015-06-02

I tried using this recipe 3 different times and it came out all mushy every time... I can't figure out what I did wrong though.

christina mae beane (author)2015-04-30

Once it dries, will it be transparent??? PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!

micah.merilles.9 (author)2015-03-22

Hi. Please send me a copy of your research paper. I madly need it. Ionly have 2 days to prepare for this project defense. I beg you. Here's my email: Please please!!!!

Mr_make_a_lot (author)2014-03-27

sorry master dude your Easy Biodegradable Plastic in not working

actually it does work

amelie_lobo (author)2014-10-27


Yolo1927 (author)2014-10-20


Wikipedia article on a type of biodegradable plastic from modified corn starch.

Masterdude (author)2009-02-25

I'm going to try to post some new pictures.

Yes. It needs original pictures, especially of the final product.

i will soon upload them!

jc. berzuela (author)2014-01-04

Why cooking oil

tantan273 (author)2013-08-24

let me ask ya.... we don't have a microwave here... so, is there another thing that can heat up this PLASTIC?

can we use STOVE?
I hope it will... :/

Masterdude (author)tantan2732013-08-25

Unfortunately I do not know. I assume that all that is needed is heat and that there aren't any microwave specific interactions happening. I think that it should work, maybe even better if a stove is used since you have greater control over the process and consistency.

loikkonen (author)2012-08-26

Hi, how strong is this? Can it bend? I'm guessing it's not waterproof. I'm going to need plastic for a project, and it should be strong and preferably non-bendable.

Masterdude (author)loikkonen2012-08-26

Ir's been a long time since I've made some, but as I remember it wasn't flexible and being a plastic I would think that it would be waterproof, but I am not sure.

Jakwiebus (author)2012-04-30

probable the stupidest question ever:
will just heating it up work just as well? or is there any microwave magic going on ? ;-)

Masterdude (author)Jakwiebus2012-05-01

I haven't tried it by just warming up but I'd guess that all it needs is heat, not microwaves, to work.

PS118 (author)2009-02-25

I'd like to know a little more of the chemistry. What exactly (chemically speaking) did we just make here? And what are its properties?

gregstevens (author)PS1182011-08-29

There is an entire website dedicated to answering questions about bioplastics, and especially for people interested in making it at home.

It has articles explaining the chemistry, as well as practical questions, and if you post a comment they often will create a post dedicated to answering your question.  It's had articles on everything from "why do some people say to use Vinegar in the bioplastic?" to "How can I make a bioplastic hard enough to make a toy sword?" (which is a funny one LOL).

Anyway, check it out, it'sa great resource.

theawesomeninja (author)PS1182011-06-23

I'm not totally sure, but I think it's some kind of starched-based structure. The water probably suspends the starch and the oil keeps it together while the water dries away, leaving an oil and starch-based plastic. LOL i reply two years after you posted the question

PS118 (author)theawesomeninja2011-06-24

Ha ha. No problem. I had to scroll back up and look at what my question even was. :)

naveen_nk (author)2010-12-11

guys can u please tell me which cooking oil is best

Masterdude (author)naveen_nk2010-12-11

Well I don't know but the canola oil worked for me and I read that some others work as well. Probably any cooking oil will do.

ChineseBakery (author)2010-12-05

I made it! I can't wait until it dries!

lemonie (author)2009-02-25

Can we see a picture of this stuff? L

Masterdude (author)lemonie2010-04-11

I just added this image. It is right after molding but before curing. I can't give images of it after curing because it fell apart because I didn't keep it moist enough. I'll try to get some better images another time.

lemonie (author)Masterdude2010-04-11

Yea, that look like the thing, I might try this (except I've got a lot of lead I'd like to use...)


drawe21 (author)lemonie2009-03-05

I made a batch with 1 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon oil and it came out well. (cooked for 8 min in microwave) Looks a bit like semi clear mashed potato's (semi clear) My photos came out looking very bad. Sorry...

crearc (author)2009-03-30

I tried it. I thought it was really cool to make, but it ended up being pretty brittle. some portions held together nicely though. I like how it's a simple formula, but it still needs to be refined. I want to be able to pour it into a mold but it isn't liquidy enough after. I was wondering, can you put clay or playdough in the microwave? Thanks.

Masterdude (author)crearc2010-04-11

It doesn't seem to be liquid after microwaving and I suggest covering the plastic with a moist towel or such to keep it from drying out before finishing curing. the brittleness probably is because some of it dries up and that part contracts causing deformations which cause brittleness so the key to preventing it should be keeping it moist while curing.

plzspoilme25 (author)2009-02-27

i think this may be just what i'm looking for for my seed trays, now i need to still come up with the mold. i need the 20 row seed tray (front tray) any ideas on what to use as the mold? for that matter any mold for any cell pack, or small flower pot...

a_traceur (author)plzspoilme25 2009-11-07

Styrofoam. Just cut it to the inverse (opposite) Of what your trying to make and squish it into all the little holes.

edfel01 (author)2009-04-05

how long until this stuff deteriorates? and how strong is it and wat not but other then that nice simple plastic. Good Job

microman171 (author)2009-02-25

I'm looking forward to trying this this afternoon. Does it melt again? This could be a super cheap thermoplastic. Polymorph anyone?

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