Girl Planting seeds

More bioplastics do not necessarily contribute to climate change mitigation

Bioplastics are often promoted as an environmentally and climate-friendly alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics. However, a recent study from the University of Bonn suggests that shifting to plant-based plastics could be less positive than expected. Specifically, increased consumption of bioplastics is likely to generate increased greenhouse gas emissions from cropland expansion on a global scale. The study will be soon published in Environmental Research Letters.  Plastics are usually made from petroleum, with the associated impacts of climate change: The carbon embodied in fossil resources is 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 be responsible for 15 percent of the global CO2 emissions.  Read more...

 

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