What Does it mean?
There are new plans for a company to start investment in a new technology that uses sustainably grown crops into plastics, using plant sugars rather than fossil fuels. It reduces carbon emissions, it can be recycled and it degrades in nature much faster than normal plastics. Some beverage companies are getting involved to have their beverages packaged using this plant-based plastic.
If this technology were more widespread and if it could replace a big part or all of the current plastic use, the consequences for the environment, reducing carbon emissions and decreasing the plastic pollution of the seas, would be momentous. This signal also belongs to a wider trend in which companies search sustainable solutions, showing it is possible to maximize profit while pursuing a societal purpose.
This product could appear on supermarket shelves by 2023 and in the first few years it would start by producing a modest 5,000 tonnes of plastic every year using sugars from corn, wheat or beets (they will use sugars from sustainable sourced bio-waste in order not to affect the global food supply chain). They will then increase production as demand for renewable plastics climb. At the end of the day, cost will be a decisive factor, but if it is sufficiently competitive, what is there not to like about this idea?
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