Environmental benefits of bioplastics

Biobased plastics have the unique advantage over conventional plastics to reduce the dependency on limited fossil resources and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or even be carbon neutral. Consequently, biobased plastics can help the EU to meet its 2020 targets of greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Moreover, bioplastics can make a considerable contribution to increased resource efficiency through a closed resource cycle and use cascades, especially if biobased materials and products are being either reused or recycled and eventually used for energy recovery (i.e. renewable energy).

Climate protection
Utilising fossil resources in industrial processes increases the share of CO2 in the atmosphere, which causes an increase in the average temperature, the so-called greenhouse effect that is linked to the increasing prevalence of the number of thunderstorms, floods and aridity. Climate protection and the decrease of CO2 emissions is a central part of environmental policy around the globe due to the fact that climate change can create far-reaching negative consequences. Governments and organisations work against this threat with targeted measures.

In its Lead Markets Initiative, the EU Commission determined that bioplastics are of high importance due to their lower carbon impact. The European Union’s strategy “Europe 2020” contains concrete targets, including 20 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990, 20 percent increase in energy efficiency, and a total share of 20 percent of energy from renewables.

The increased use of renewable resources and an increased share of biobased products is an important step towards achieving these targets. Life cycle analyses show that biobased plastics enable a signif