There are various ways to ensure a sufficient supply of biomass for the production for food, feed, and industrial/material uses (including bioplastics) now and in future. These include:
- Broadening the base of feedstock: The bioplastics industry is currently working mostly with agro-based feedstock (i.e. plants that are rich in carbohydrate, such as corn or sugar cane). Several projects, however, are already looking into using plant residues or other lingo-cellulosic feedstock.
- Increasing yields: Increasing the efficiency of industrial conversion of raw materials into feedstock, for example by using optimised yeasts or bacteria and optimised physical and chemical processes would increase the total availability of resources.
- Taking fallow land into production: There is still plenty of arable land in various geographical regions available for production, even in the European Union.*
* Different sources come up with varying figures for „free“ arable land, the French National Institute For Agricultural Research gives 2.6 billion hectares of untapped potential (article in ParisTech, 2011), the nova-Institute calculates 570 million hectares based on figures of OECD and FAO (2009). The bottom line – there is an ample amount of unused land available.