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Bioplastics that don't degrade may be 'best' says Biome report


Biome Bioplastics based in Southampton has published a White Paper in support of bioplastics derived from renewable resources.
The paper, "Bioplastics: an important component of global sustainability", was written by Chris Goodall, who has published energy and environmental books.
The paper discusses issues surrounding bioplastics, including the issue of whether biodegradability is desirable or not.
Using figures from Braskem of Brazil and other sources, it claims bioplastics that do not biodegrade “might… have a carbon footprint of well under half the conventional [oil-derived plastic] equivalent”.
The paper contends that bioplastics that permanently sequester carbon and do not biodegrade have advantages over conventional plastics.
“If, on the other hand, the bioplastic is of a degradable type the advantages over conventional plastics are less pronounced. The plastic will compost back into carbon dioxide and water, returning all the sequestered carbon to the atmosphere,” it said.
“The crucial point – not well understood by commentators or by the public – is that compostable plastics will typically have a much larger carbon footprint than ones that are manufactured to be permanent.”
The paper says: “More work needs to be done on this issue, but in the intervening time the precautionary approach is to try to ensure that all biodegradable bioplastics are kept out of landfill.”

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