I’m typing “are bioplastics sustainable?” into my search engine, Ecosia. The top hits include a slurry of criticisms of bioplastics. As I read through the articles, it’s clear that bioplastic’s feedstocks are a huge problem.
Do the negative effects of deforestation and land use make these products worse for the environment than petroleum-based plastics? Is the bioplastic industry just a new form of greenwashing to make consumers feel better about their single-use plastics?
Over the past several decades, the oil and gas companies that manufacture plastics have promoted recycling to prevent plastic bans, as they push responsibility on to consumers. In doing this, their products seemingly appear less harmful, easily recyclable, and cost-effective to produce. The reality of recycling is ugly, but that’s a topic for another post.
If we are destined to shift toward bioplastics, we need to ensure this relatively new industry is more transparent than its petroleum-based predecessors. Feedstock source is a major question mark. An ethical dilemma surrounds using crops to make bioplastics rather than food for consumption.
Luckily there is a solution.
Full Cycle Bioplastics is the only company in North America producing bioplastic from food waste. Food waste is a global problem. When it is thrown into landfills, it emits methane and carbon dioxide: harmful greenhouse gases. Full Cycle Bioplastics converts food waste into PHA, a bioplastic known to be biodegradable and compostable.
Picture this: a big tech company generates hundreds of tons of food waste on campus. Full Cycle collects that waste and converts it into biodegradable packaging for food distribution on campus. Employees at the big tech company then compost the PHA-based wrapper along with their food scraps, and the process begins again, it’s a completely circular loop.
Bioplastics will have a seat at the table, and Full Cycle is looking forward to providing a better solution.
PHA 101: What They Are & How They’re Made Through Green EngineeringRead article
Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) is our bread and butter, and we produce PHA through green engineering, using food waste like bread crust and oil.
As more Fortune 500 companies are committing to plastic reduction in the coming years, bioplastics, and especially PHA, are generating interest as an alternative to petroleum-based plastic.
But what is PHA? And why are people only talking about it now?
Let’s Make PHA Tees, PleaseRead article
The world has a t-shirt problem.
You probably have 27 of them tucked inside your dresser, and they’re probably made from cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two.
Both materials are problematic because they harm our planet.
Let’s look at the cotton t-shirt. Cotton is a a natural fiber, a biopolymer even, but cotton is also a very thirsty crop. One pound of cotton (approximate amount needed for one tee) requires 800 gallons of water to produce.