Bioplastics are often marketed as an environmentally and climate-friendly alternative to conventional petroleum-based plastics. However, an analysis by the University of Bonn now suggests that a switch to plant-based plastics could have a less positive effect than expected. For example, increasing use of bioplastics is likely to increase global greenhouse gas emissions. The study was published in the “Environmental Research Letters”. We have spoken to Dr. Neus Escobar at University of Bonn. 

NAYA: Dear Dr. Neus Escobar many thanks for taking the time. Could you please provide us a brief overview of Plastic and Bioplastic and what is the difference?

Dr. Neus Escobar: Of course. Plastic is usually made from petroleum. This has negative consequences for the global climate: the carbon dioxide contained in them is released when they are broken down and thus contributes to global warming. Around 400 million tons of CO2 are released into the atmosphere worldwide every year – half as much as Germany blew up in 2017. In 2050, plastics could already be responsible for 15 percent of global CO2 production.

Bioplastics, on the other hand, is almost climate neutral because it is based on renewable raw material