Bioplastic is meant to be eco-friendly and biodegradable. But on closer inspection, it loses its green sheen, writes DW’s Desiree Therre.
“Algae doesn’t need any land to grow. It doesn’t need fertiliser or pesticides and it grows quickly,” said the entrepreneur from Berlin. Ms Staats runs a natural foods company and sells, among other things, algae snacks.
Whether bioplastics are a viable solution is open to debate. They’re not automatically better for the environment or the climate than their oil-based counterpart, say experts.
Franziska Krüger of the German Environment Agency (UBA) said:
“There are certainly products where biodegradable plastic makes sense, but we shouldn’t “greenwash it. Most bioplastics don’t ever have the pleasure of being composted.”
For instance, just because a bag is labeled a bioplastic, doesn’t mean it won’t end up floating around in the ocean.
Furthermore, crops, such as corn and sugarcane, used to make bioplastics require a lot of land and fertiliser. That could damage soil and mean less land is available to grow food crops.
Right now, recycling companies and local authorities don’t have the means to deal with many bioplastics, which have different properties and require different methods of disposal.
- First it was National Geographic who published an article against “bio-based” bioplastics, now it’s the German Environment Agency. You should read the closing remarks on the National Geographic article on Bioplastics.