The Unintended Side Effects of Bioplastics: Carbon, Land, and Water Footprints

Janis Brizga, Klaus Hubacek*, Kuishuang Feng

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

    OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

    38 Citaten (Scopus)
    44 Downloads (Pure)


    The environmental impacts of plastics have become an important political and academic topic. One of the main applications of plastics is packaging, a product with a very short service life, leading to a wide range of environmental problems. In this Perspective, we look at the potential environmental consequences (in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and land and water footprints) of substitution of petrochemical plastics used for packaging in Europe with bioplastics. The research is based on a review of life cycle impact assessment studies and additional calculations to assess the footprints of this substitution. The results demonstrate that currently it does not seem feasible to replace all the petrochemical plastic packaging with bioplastic because this will inevitably result in a considerable increase of land and water use. Unless we find ways to decrease plastic demand, most of the efforts to stop plastic pollution are likely to prove temporary and inadequate.

    Originele taal-2English
    Pagina's (van-tot)45-53
    Aantal pagina's9
    TijdschriftOne Earth
    Nummer van het tijdschrift1
    StatusPublished - 24-jul-2020

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