There’s an inconvenient truth about biobased plastics and fuels …. and today, with the current heat wave, it’s more visible than ever.
You must have felt it but there’s currently a heat wave and drought in many countries.
The fresh water resources are under heavy pressure.
The soils and farmlands are dry.
There’s food shortage.
And you want to allocate farmlands, soils and food crops for the production of fuels and plastics?
Is it your brain speaking or your wallet?
Imagine if we were dependent on food crops for all our plastics and fuels needs?
It would be a big problem … a disaster. Well, that’s what some corporations want to achieve!
Therefore, it’s important that we switch to second generation feedstock (agricultural waste) and that we drop first generation feedstock as soon as possible.
First vs Second Generation Feedstock
What’s the difference between 1st and 2nd generation feedstock?
If you grow crops for the purpose of using it as feedstock to produce plastics and fuels, it’s called first generation feedstock (the most common examples are corn, sugar cane, palm oil, etc).
If you use the waste of agricultural and food production as feedstock, it’s called second generation feedstock.
Let me give you an example …
If you grow “oranges” to produce plastics and fuels, it would be called 1st generation feedstock.
If you use the orange skins and peels discarded by the food industry to produce plastics and fuels, it would be called 2nd generation.
Big Business and Subsidises
On one hand, there’s global warming and on the other hand, there’s a push and rush to use first generation feedstock.
It’s called an anomaly; an inconsistency.
The reason is because it’s big business: huge subsidies are given to the agro industrial concerns.
If you ask me, it’s nonsense!
It’s time that our policies become consistent with our intentions.
We may want to go for a pragmatic approach:
As a company, if you want to start producing biobased plastics, I would agree that your fist plant uses first generation feedstock so that you can learn from it and develop a second generation technology.
Your second plant and beyond, would have to be second generation.
Use your brain… but above all… use your heart …. act like a gentleman