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Bioplastics: they are not as good as we think

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Discover why the University of Bonn does not consider this 'sustainable' alternative to be entirely eco-friendly

Bioplastics: they are not as good as we think

The University of Bonn discovered that bioplastics, an alternative to products made from petroleum, are not as good as we think. This institution explains that the consumption of bioplastics worldwide could increase greenhouse gas emissions and completely change the use of land.

Leer en español: Bioplásticos: no son tan buenos como creemos

According to Dr. Neus Escobar of the Institute of Economics of Food and Resources of the University of Bonn and author of the study, "this could potentially lead to an increase in the conversion of forest areas to arable land. more CO2 than corn or sugarcane annually, if only because of its greater biomass. "

The study, which will be published soon in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters, developed the experiment under two possible scenarios. On the one hand, a context was considered in which products made with plastic from petroleum do not have taxes. On the other hand, the study was conducted under the premise that bioplastics have tax subsidies and oil derivatives have taxed.

In the second scenario, where the bioplastics are subsidized and those based on oil have a higher tax burden, the consequences could be disastrous because eventually the traditional plastic would stop being used and would be exchanged for elements made from sugar cane, corn, among others. This, eventually, would increase the emission of greenhouse gases.

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"The consumption of bioplastics from food crops in large quantities does not seem to be an effective strategy to protect the climate," Escobar said. In fact, the popular belief that bioplastics will reduce pollution in seas and oceans could be a lie. According to EurekAlert !, the fact that these plastics come from plants does not mean that they will easily degrade.

However, not all bad news. According to the scientist, "this would probably look different if other biomass resources were used for production, such as crop residues." Additionally, there is an advantage in bioplastics and that they help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and all their derivatives.

Escobar recommends to governments worldwide to establish clear lines of recycling and reuse of plastic. In this way, it is ensured that the material already produced will be used again.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza

Translated from: 'Bioplásticos: no son tan buenos como creemos'

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