Biobased plastics, the good and the bad
Companies haven’t started doing it yet but, technically, there is nothing to stop them from making plastic out of sugar beet or wheat. Good for the environment? Let’s not be too hasty. A study by Sandra Belboom, a research engineer at the University of Liège, shows that there is a considerable gain in terms of CO2 emissions compared with the use of fossil fuels. But this process also has significant side effects, such as an increase in acidification and eutrophication.
(1) Does biobased polymer achieve better environmental impacts than fossil polymer? Comparison of fossil HDPE and biobased HDPE produced from sugar beet and wheat, in Biomass & Bioenergy (2016).