Eco-Friendly Plastics: Environment
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Environment: Profile

The bioplastics industry is working intensively on achieving the best possible environmental profile for their products. Life cycle assessment is being utilized to optimise processes and the overall environmental performance of products. The use of renewable resources in the material may offer a major advantage of bioplastics over conventional plastics made from crude oil as far as CO2 emissions are concerned.

Factors such as energy consumption and CO2 emissions in product manufacture, processing and disposal determine the environmental profile of a product. Comparison of the environmental performance of products made from bioplastics with conventional products can only be achieved through a product-related life cycle assessment (LCA) corresponding to the internationally binding

ISO 14040 et seqq. standards. Such an evaluation assesses all the steps in the life cycle of the product, for example raw material production, processing, transport, use and disposal.
 
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Environment: vs Agricultural Products

Do bioplastics play a role in the rising prices for agricultural products and food ?

The current media debate is frequently emotional and not much factual information is provided to promote the discussion on the use of food crops in non-food applications.

At a conference on May 6, EU Agriculture Commissioner Marianne Fischer-Boel has responded to the debate and rejected allegations that EU policies to promote biofuels are to blame for rising food prices (www.euractiv.com/en/sustainability/biofuels). She provided arguments that are also valid for bioplastics: "Those who see biofuels as the driving force behind recent food price increases have overlooked not just one elephant standing right in front of them, but two," she said. According to Fischer-Boel, the rising food demand and dietary shift towards meat in emerging countries like China and India, together with the bad weather that hit the EU, US, Canada, Russia, Ukraine and Australia in 2006 and 2007, have each had "an enormous impact on commodity markets". Other "influences" include increasing speculation on food commodities, she said.

 

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