Bioplastics: sustainable solution or distraction from the plastic waste crisis?

By Meg Wilcox
Environmental Health News
March 11, 2024
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States

…bioplastics are proliferating across the food industry … electronics, clothing, building supplies and more. Bioplastics are defined as plastic materials that are either partly or wholly derived from renewable biomass like plants or are biodegradable or are both. The industry is projected to grow from $8.7 billion in 2023 to $31 billion by 2030 – a growth rate faster than the traditional plastics industry. Though bioplastics comprise just 1% of the plastics market, some tout them as plastics’ more sustainable future. … “Bioplastics are driving the evolution of plastics,” the European Bioplastics Association claims, citing “carbon neutrality” and biodegradability (in some cases) as bioplastics’ advantages over their conventional counterparts. But bioplastics haven’t fully lived up to the hype of faster decomposition rates, safer materials and smaller carbon footprints. Still, experts say the material could be among a suite of solutions if end-of-life management and chemical safety were factored into their design, alongside stronger greenwashing regulations.

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