How sustainable are bioplastics?

///How sustainable are bioplastics?

How sustainable are bioplastics?

At face value, taxing consumption of materials derived from petrochemicals and subsidizing production of bioplastics both sound like they’d encourage sustainable consumption. But applying these policies to meet a hypothetical 5% target for bioplastics use reveals a different story, according to scientists in Germany.

Today, bioplastics have a market share of around 1%, but as this number rises so does the amount of sugar- and starch-based feedstock that must be grown.

The researchers found that land use changes to provide this feedstock — particularly, the conversion of managed forests into cropland, eliminating valuable carbon sinks — lead to an overall rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Both taxes and subsidies help suppress the market for petroleum-derived plastics (by 0.37% and 0.07%, respectively). But subsidies increase competition for land, displacing other uses, and taxes risk economic penalties.

Calculations based on the tax scenario reveal a subsequent contraction of all sectors employing plastics, equivalent to an annual drop of 0.07% in global real GDP.

Read more at Physics World

2019-02-06T08:25:23+00:00Tags: |