Bioplastics are eco-friendly. New study says it’s a myth

Dec 13, 2018, 7:19 AM EST
(Source: Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel/flickr)
(Source: Plaza Athénée Bangkok, A Royal Méridien Hotel/flickr)

Bioplastics have been touted as an environment-friendly and climate-friendly replacement for conventional petroleum-based plastic, but a new study at the University of Bonn blows a hole in that belief.

On digging deep, the researchers found that the positive impacts of switching to plant-based plastics would be offset by its adverse effects, including higher greenhouse gas emissions as more of woodlands are turned into croplands with growing consumption of bioplastics, notes Science Daily.

The claimed biodegradability of bioplastics is open to debate, with critics skeptical whether the material will decompose in nature in the same way as it does in controlled conditions of the laboratory, reports Deutsche Welle. Besides, most recycling facilities still label bioplastics as “contaminants” for they are not equipped to handle them, eventually routing them to landfill sites or oceans.