Bioplastics not an eco-friendly alternative to plastic: study


A study was conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany on the use of bioplastics and its effects on the environment.

Bioplastics

  • Bioplastics are plastics derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats and oils, corn starch, straw, woodchips, food waste, etc.
  • Bioplastics can be made from agricultural by-products and also from used plastic bottles and other containers using microorganisms.
  • Bioplastics are usually derived from sugar derivatives, including starch, cellulose, lactic acid.
  • Common plastics, such as fossil-fuel plastics (also called petrobased polymers) are derived from petroleum or natural gas.
  • Not all bioplastics are biodegradable nor biodegrade more readily than commodity fossil-fuel derived plastics.

Highlights:

  • Plastics are usually made from petroleum, with the associated impacts in terms of fossil fuel depletion but also climate change.
  • The carbon embodied in fossil resources is suddenly released to the atmosphere by degradation or burning, hence contributing to global warming.
  • This corresponds to about 400 million metric tonnes of CO2 per year worldwide, almost half of the total greenhouse gases that Germany emitted to the atmosphere in 2017.
  • It is estimated that by 2050, plastics could already be responsible for 15% of the global CO2 emissions.

advantages of bioplastics:

  • They can reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Less consumption of non-renewable raw materials.
  • A reduction of non-biodegradable waste, which contaminates the environment.
  • Increased energy savings in terms of production.
  • Fewer harmful additives such as phthalates or bisphenol A.
  • No adverse change to flavour or scent in food stored in bioplastic containers.

Bioplastics not an eco-friendly alternative to plastic: study Bioplastics not an eco-friendly alternative to plastic: study Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on December 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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