Biobased Plastics regrow year after year
Around 200 million tons of petroleum-based plastic are produced every year, of which about 10 % ends up in the sea as giant sea swirls.The exact extent of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), the Continent of Garbage in the North Pacific, is not yet known. Researchers estimate one million floating plastic particles, weighing a total of 100 million tons, per square kilometer. The fact is that 46 kg of plastic come on a kilo of plankton, the most important nutrient of the oceans. In addition to plastic waste the GPGP contains especially harmful chemicals such as dioxins, pesticides, and even the neurotoxin DDT. A ticking time bomb that continues to go. Until now there are no known biological degradation opportunities.
alchemia-nova pro-actively contributes to the reduction of conventional plastic and conducts research on potential areas of application regarding biodegradable plastics. Latter are made primarily from renewable resources, these include, starch-based plastics, polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and cellulose-based plastics. Under ideal conditions the decomposition of bioplastics to CO2 and water takes place within 6 weeks. alchemia-nova had a key role in the introduction of bioplastics and their industrial use in Austria. Together with the city Linz and the Upper Austrian government, alchemia-nova initiated the project LOOP Linz, whose primary goal was the promotion of sustainable packaging technologies. (Film Mysterious Disappearance – Bioplastics win the future). Currently they work on the Bioplastics Roadmap 2050 for Austria with the aim to be able to fully substitute petrol-based plastics with bio-based.
There is already a wide range of products and diverse processing and application possibilities, which can manufacture innovative products and therefore all of the “petro-plastics” can be replaced. The main technical problems for global use of bioplastics have already been solved. Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle is the lack of political and industrial support, – deposit, recycling and incineration of plastics from petrochemicals are strongly lobbied.
In Austria alone, about 700 million pieces of these tote bags are needed each year. Continuous efforts of our institute, the partners and open-minded people will guarantee an increase in packaging made from PLA or other biological degradable plastics.