Increased consumption of bioplastics will generate more greenhouse gas emissions due to cropland expansion.
The study will be published in the scientific Journal Environmental Research Letters and is already available online.
Dr. Neus Escobar from the Institute of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Bonn said:
“The production of bioplastics in large amounts would change land use globally. This could potentially lead to an increase in the conversion of forest areas to arable land. However, forests absorb considerably more CO2 than maize or sugar cane annually, if only because of their larger biomass.”
Experience with biofuels has shown that this effect is not a theoretical speculation. The increasing demand for the “green” energy sources has brought massive deforestation to some countries across the tropics.
The scientists conclude that if governments really want to protect the environment, they should rather pursue a different strategy: It makes more sense to use plastic sparingly and to ensure that it is actually recycled.