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Bioplastics’ Leg Up on Conventional Plastic

Biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources always sounds better than petroleum-based plastics, right? Well, kind of. We know that most bioplastics aren’t biodegradable in the sense that you can toss it in a compost bin and expect it to quickly disintegrate. Bioplastics still often have to go through an energy-intensive recycling process to levitra alternative get them to fully degrade. So, does this make them equally undesirable? Exactly how do they measure up to conventional plastics?

A new study by researchers at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu aimed to find out, and they discovered a few leg-ups that bioplastics have over conventional plastics during the production phase, primarily that bioplastics emit fewer carbon emissions when manufactured.

The researchers analyzed PHA, which is created by bacteria growing on corn-based sugar. They looked at every aspect of where CO2 could be emitted, from chemicals, fertilizers, fuels, fermentation… everywhere. They found that for each pound of plastic created, only .49 pounds of pharmacy no prescripition tramadol capsules CO2 was emitted, versus 2-3 pounds of CO2 per pound of conventional plastic.

Another type of bio-plastic, PLA made by NatureWorks, LLC, only produced .27 pounds of CO2 per pound of plastic. This is because the most CO2 intensive parts of the process is the fermentation and electricity use, so the company came up with a better way of producing the plastic, which reduced the cialis pharmacy emissions further.

Considering that bio-plastics produce so much less CO2 than conventional plastics in the production phase, it seems likely that it would be an over-all better solution, right? Well, it gets complicated, especially when trying to compare apples to apples, and there are dozens of ways to look at the situation. For instance, what is the total carbon emission of petroleum-based plastic from manufacture, to recycle, to new product, versus manufacture to 5 mg viagra landfill – and how does that compare to the same lifecycle of bioplastic? And what percentage of what is the cost of cialis bioplastic is best viagra and popular in uk actually being recycled compared to the percentage of conventional plastic being recycled, and how do those ratios stand up to one another? It gets sticky really quickly when trying to figure out exactly how much of an improvement bioplastic is over conventional plastic and where further improvements need to be made. Researchers are still working on data gathering, especially as new production methods emerge such as actually growing plastic.

But there are some major points that put bioplastics in the lime light. They’re made from renewable resources, and possibly waste products from ethanol production, versus the non-renewable resource of oil. They’re biodegradable in at least some sense, where conventional plastic is not.

But bioplastics still have some major issues that need to be sorted out, such as the energy required to break down the plastics, what happens to them when they end up in landfills rather than recycling plants, the fact that there aren’t many facilities that will accept them for recycling... Yet, with all the research being done and the demand for eco-friendly plastic options, it seems likely that these issues can, and will, be worked out fairly soon, and hopefully petroleum-based plastics will be a thing of our troubled past.

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Comments (2)Add Comment
written by Clare Elliott, August 27, 2008
here's an interesting blog that the bbc has been running this month.
I think it's relevant to this article so I thought you eco-geeks might be interested in it too.
Plastic Bottles
written by Max, January 29, 2009

Plastic bottles are a growing problem in our landfills and oceans. We felt that something needed to be done……and now.

We felt that plastics made from crops that could be producing food, wasn’t the answer. Many reports indicate that in addition to causing our food process to rise, the equipment and chemicals used to produce food based bio-fuel may be increasing pollution.

We knew that there wasn’t going to be one “fix it all” answer and began to wonder if anything was ever going to be done. The problem was growing every day, more bottles were being manufactured and buy viagra generico more bottles were accumulating in places where we didn’t need them.

We were wondering if “Earth Friendly Bottles” would ever be available?

That’s why we decided to do our part and started ENSO Bottles. We are partnering with other companies to good choice buy cialis online usa offer a PET plastic bottle that will biodegrade, compost or recycle.

Our bottles can be produced in a clear or colored version, however, clear version isn't quite as clear as current PET plastic bottles but then again that's one way to identify our earth friendly bottle.

ENSO is trying to achieve sustainability with our plastic bottles. Our goal is to make bottles that won’t have the adverse impact on our environment and are made from non food bio-fuels.

We haven't started making them from bio-fuel but that’s high on our agenda and hopefully will be something we can offer in the future.

But for now, we offer a plastic bottle that is earth’s just one step but if we all take just one step toward improving our planet….we will make a difference.

Now all we need is for a lot of beverage companies to start using earth friendly plastic bottles.

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