Bio-plastic is not sustainable

A new study “Sustainability of bio-based plastics: general comparative analysis and recommendations for improvement” (Alvarez-Chavez, C.R., Edwards, S., Moure-Eraso, R. & Geiser, K.) conducted in order to explore more in depth the sustainability of bio-plastic.

The study was conducted to focus on the impact on the materials’ environmental, health and safety impacts during their life cycle. What comes out of the study is that bio-plastics production and usage still underlines threats on the environment, health and safety. The production process uses toxic substances which can have an impact on the health of the workers (cancers, etc.). The raw materials used usually are based on feedstock from GMOs and hazardous pesticides which impacts the quality of the environment. Finally all bio-plastic production needs land, land that is then not used for food purposes. Bio-plastics are today not enough sustainable the study reveals and the researchers give advices to push the level of sustainability higher. It could be interesting to explore a controlled production without using toxic raw materials, using land not competing with food production. The study could lead to a second generation of bio-plastic, while in the meaning time we should still be careful of what we do of the plastic we gather in our everyday life. Degradable bags for example still should be through in special garbage bins and not like we always see on the road…

Along with a list of recommendations, the education of consumer still remains a major point and we should all be well informed and aware.

Source: Article « Ensuring bio-based plastics are truly sustainable », 19/04/2012, Science for Environment Policy European Commission,

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