Since the invention of plastics made from fossil fuels, we have produced unimaginable amounts. Unfortunately, all that plastic is still around, as it can take thousands of years to decompose. Could the bioplastics be the solutions? What are the benefits of bioplastics?
All the bioplastics are made from renewable materials like food crops, non-food crops, waste materials from food-based sources, algae, and other 100% renewable materials. Therefore, the first benefit of bioplastics is that they don’t consume finite materials, and there is no risk of running out of the raw material.
If we started to produce more bioplastics, we would be consuming fewer fossil fuels for this purpose and we would lower our general dependency on fossil fuels. Even though fossil fuels are very important for almost all human activities, we also know that fossil fuels are the main culprits of many significant environmental issues. To lower our overall dependency on them, we need to start diverting to other alternatives in many areas of our lives.
Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a major type of greenhouse gas. During the production of synthetic plastics based on petroleum, hight qualities of carbon dioxide are produced and released into the environment. While during the production of bioplastics, carbon dioxide is also released, the amounts are much lower, thus reducing the total greenhouse gas emissions and our carbon footprint.
Under the correct conditions, bioplastics are biodegradable, which means they will decompose and convert into biomass that does not harm the environment and can mix with soil without any problem and without leaving microplastics behind. Furthermore, they will take considerably less time to decompose compared to synthetic plastics.
Fossil fuels’ sites are concentrated in limited areas around the world, which means it has to be distributed around the globe, which further adds to its carbon footprint. On the contrary, bioplastics’ raw material can be locally grown anywhere in order to diminish the distance to transport it for production.
If we further improve on the current processes for bioplastic production, the environmental benefits of bioplastics will further increase and it will make bioplastics cheaper and more available.