Bioplastics could be "just as bad if not worse" for the planet than fossil-fuel plastics - architecture and design

Bioplastics could be "just as bad if not worse" for the planet than fossil-fuel plastics



Bioplastics could potentially be worse for the environment than conventional plastics, according to recycling expert Arthur Huang.
Switching to plastic made from plants instead of fossil fuels would require vast amounts of farmland, Huang said. This could could cause environmental problems and deprive humans of food.
Huang, founder and CEO of circular-economy engineering company Miniwiz, added that bioplastics can cause damage when they are composted. They make soil and water more acidic, he claimed, potentially polluting both land and ocean.
"If we use them the same way [as conventional plastics] they are just as bad if not worse," he said. "They change the pH value of soil and water as they degrade, and they take away valuable food supplies," he said. Huang cited a United Nations report from 2015 that raised concerns that the public would recycle less if they thought the plastic they used would harmlessly degrade if discarded.
PLA is compostable, not biodegradable
An architect and engineer, Huang has pioneered techniques for recycling plastic. In 2017 he collaborated with Nike to design sneaker packaging made from recycled drinks containers.
Polylactic Acid (PLA), the most common type of bioplastic, is made from fermented starch extracted from crops such as corn, potatoes or sugar cane. It can also be made from algae.
Conventional plastic in soil or the ocean is "largely an aesthetic problem" says Huang
PLA is compostable, meaning microbes wi...
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