Green Matter: The greening of PLA

PLA is 100% biobased, made from renewable resources, biodegradable and compostable. It's affordable and commercially widely available and produced on industrial scale, with proven applications on the consumer market. It can be reused, incinerated or recycled. If desired, feedstock recovery is also possible. What more could we want?

Well, there is still at least one area that researchers are still looking at could make this green commodity even greener. And, no, it has nothing to do with the public debate about using food or feed crops for non-food purposes, such as making PLA.

After all, recent studies that have examined that issue have determined that the use of such crops for industrial purposes does not impact on land use for food crops, nor is it the reason for rising food prices. A report released earlier this year by the World Bank ('Long-term Drivers of Food Prices') found, for example, that rising crude oil prices were the biggest contributor to rising food prices. Just weeks ago, nova-Institut published a position paper that also aimed to make a well-researched, balanced contribution to the debate. It took the position that all kinds of biomass should be accepted for industrial uses; the choice should be dependent on how sustainably and efficiently these biomass resources can be produced. "Efficiency and sustainability should be the leading criteria when selecting renewable feedstock for industrial purposes, such as the production of bioplastics", said Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics, commenting on the report....

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