Today most plastic material is made from fossil fuel. But industry is preparing for alternatives based on biomaterials. These can be made from plants and other renewable resources.
Biomaterial plants would not compete with food plants for agricultural land, Michael Carus of Nova-Institute for ecology and innovation, Hürth, Germany, explains in a video-interview.
Summary and additional information
Using more biomaterials on the one hand is an economical need because fossil fuel will run out.
But using more bio-materials is also an environmental issue.
Plants for biomaterials need to take CO2 from atmosphere for their growth. A product derived from these plants traps carbon. For the lifetime of the product and of products to be recycled from it, the carbon neither can turn into CO2 nor may it contribute to the greenhouse effect in atmosphere.
Production capacities for biopolymers will triple from 2013 to 2020.
Nova-Institute, which focusses in research on bio-based economy, has forecasted that production capacities will grow from 5.2 million metric tonnes to 17 million metric tonnes.
There is already land available to grow enough food for mankind as well as to fulfill the needs for biomaterials and for bio-fuels.
There is no more land needed from rainforests or protected areas,
Michael Carus says. Biomaterial production would enhance agricultural diversity, he explains.
Bio-fuel-production, however, would decline in favour of new synthetic fuels made from CO2
by processes driven by energy from renewable sources like wind and sun, the expert says.