Consumer Trends

Controversies Around Bioplastics

This article regarding the controversies of bioplastics was published on environmentalleader.com

Some bioplastics are made from corn and sugarcane such as:

Advantages of Bioplastics

Bioplastic can help us reduce the use of petroleum and it is derived from renewable resources. The plants can be grown all over the world and it can improve the economies of many poor countries.

Once it is discarded, it releases fewer carbons into the atmosphere than petroleum-based plastics. It is carbon neutral.

Problems

Using corn and sugarcane for bioplastics reduces agricultural resources that could be used to grow food.

Fertilizers used to grow corn and sugarcane create a considerable amount of pollution. This lead to an increased eutrophication (a process that removes oxygen from waterways) negatively impacting plant and marine, human health, and eco-toxicity.

Bioplastics are sent to landfills or delivered to industrial recycling facilities, where intense heat is used to break it down. It can take decades to break down and it could leak from the landfill into oceans .

There are 150 composting facilities in the United States and only 25% accept bioplastic waste. Many of these industrial recycling facilities do not provide the intense heat necessary for a long enough time to break down the plastic for recycling purposes.

Bioplastic eating utensils are often not tossed in the appropriate recycling bins and end up in landfills.

Bioplastics could end up being a new type of greenwashing.

RELATED ARTICLES

REFS