Bioplastics seeks its place in plastics treaty talks 2024

Posted on December 15, 2023 by DrRossH in BioPlastics, Plastic Recycling

Representatives of the small bioplastics sector were on hand at the latest round of plastics treaty talks in Kenya Nov. 13-19 to argue that negotiators were glossing over a key point: that their materials can cut the link between plastics and fossil fuels.

Source: Bioplastics seeks its place in plastics treaty talks | Plastics News


Skepticism from nations

Others at the treaty talks pointed to skepticism around bioplastics.

Edith Cecchini, the director of international plastics for Ocean Conservancy, said in a social media post that country delegations in Kenya had “constant” questions about how to evaluate biodegradable plastics.

“While we understand the allure of biodegradability, we do not want the treaty discussions to become sidetracked by focusing too much on this or other ‘quick fixes’ when the critical need right now is to reduce the production of primary plastic polymers,” she said in a subsequent email interview. “We don’t want to move from one single-use problem to another.”

Cecchini said the treaty should move away from fossil feedstocks and should look to reduce single-use products of any material, but shouldn’t see bioplastics as a panacea.

“Weaning off of fossil fuel feedstocks is critical not only to reducing the amount of plastics being produced, but also to the communities that are most significantly impacted by the pollution created by extraction and production,” she said. “But we need to be clear: bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics all come with environmental trade-offs of their own, from land use challenges to their continued dependency on fossil-fuel derived chemical additives.”

The alure of Bioplastics is strong, but there are some pitfalls that industry does not want people to know about. Not recyclable, limited shelf life on Home Compostable materials, high fossil fuel (>60%) content in Home Compostable materials.  But they do biodegrade quite fast if disposed to the right location.   For commercial compostable, the ‘right’ location is a special facilty most people do not have access to.  For Home Compostable the right location can be a home compost bin or a landfill so easier for the general consumer.