The feedstock currently used for the production of bioplastics relies on only about 0.02 percent of the global agricultural area – compared to 97 percent of the area, which is used for the production of food and feed. This clearly demonstrates that there is no competition between food/feed and industrial production.
Of the 13.4 billion hectares of global land surface, around 38 percent (5 billion hectares) is currently used for agriculture. This includes pastures (67 percent, approx. 3.3 billion hectares) and arable land (29 percent, approx. 1.4 billion hectares). The arable land is further divided into areas predominantly used for growing food crops and feed (25 percent, approx. 1.24 billion hectares), as well as crops for materials (2 percent, approx. 106 million hectares, including the 820,000 hectares used for bioplastics, 0.016%)* , and crops for biofuels (1 percent, approx. 53 million hectares).
Moreover, advanced integrated production processes, for example in biorefineries, are already able to produce several different kinds of products out of one specific feedstock – including products for food, feed, and products, such as bioplastics.
*The 2 percent comprise e.g. natural fibers (primarily cotton), rubber, bamboo, plant oils, sugar and starch. Of these 106 million hectares only 400.000 hectares are used to grow feedstock for bioplastics (primarily sugar and starch).