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.
Producing PHA: What makes Full Cycle’s Process Unique?Read article
The biopolymer PHA has existed on Earth for millions of years since scientists first discovered polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB, in the PHA family) in 1925. Because fossil fuels were abundant, cheap, and readily available in the 1920s, PHA’s material properties did not become commercially interesting until recently.
As we become more aware of the scarcity of fossil fuels and environmental drawbacks of fossil fuel reliance, the desire for a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastics has grown.
PHAs: A Compostable Alternative to Plastic. 6 Answers to Your FAQsRead article
Plastic pollution is a problem everywhere. From the plastic bags blowing across our neighborhoods to the island-sized plastic gyres floating in the ocean, we encounter the plastic problem at every scale.
Many are asking what can we do about it? Are there any plastic alternatives that are actually sustainable? What about compostable plastics? Are they really compostable, or is it all just hype to get us to make us think our plastic problem has been solved?