On bio-plastic material and plastic-pollution

The fate of (compostable) plastic products
in a full scale industrial organic waste
treatment facility

This research project has been carried out by Wageningen Food & Biobased Research commissioned and funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
For several years now, there has been debate between the (organic) waste treatment companies,
organised in the Vereniging Afvalbedrijven (VA) and the companies producing compostable plastics,
organised in Holland Bioplastics (HB) about the acceptance of compostable (packaging) products in
source separated municipal organic waste (GFT).

In this debate it is brought forward that it is still unclear whether the disintegration rate of compostable products (i.e. certified according to the current standard EN 13432) would be sufficient to be compatible with the current GFT treatment practice in the Netherlands. This is questioned because the current waste treatment practice has focussed more and more on high throughput of GFT and corresponding short composting cycles (low residence times).

Plastic & Health The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet

Despite being one of the most pervasive materials on the planet, plastic and its impact on human health is poorly understood. Yet exposure to plastic are expanding into new areas of  the environment and food chain as existing plastic products fragment into smaller particles and concentrate toxic chemicals.

As plastic production increases, this exposure will only grow. To date, research into the human health impacts of plastic has focused narrowly on specific moments in the plastic lifecycle, from wellhead to refinery, from store shelves to human bodies, and from disposal to ongoing impacts as air pollutants and ocean plastic. Individually, each stage of the plastic lifecycle poses significant risks to human health.

Together, the lifecycle impacts of plastic paint an unequivocally toxic picture: plastic threatens human health on a global scale.

Dutch tv program about compostable packaging. (Dutch with English subtitle)

 TV progam showing the negativity that industrial composters have agains bio-plastic and the mis understanding there are with bio-plastics .

This is the direct link… without English subtitels.
Website of the tv program:

European Union Study Plastic pollution

Plastics are an important material in our economy, and modern daily life is unthinkable without them. At the same time however, they can have serious downsides on the environment and health. Action on plastics was identified as a priority in the Circular Economy Action Plan, to help European businesses and consumers to use resources in a more sustainable way.

The first-ever European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy adopted on January 2018 will transform the way plastic products are designed, used, produced and recycled in the EU. Better design of plastic products, higher plastic waste recycling rates, more and better quality recyclates will help boosting the market for recycled plastics. It will deliver greater added value for a more competitive, resilient plastics industry.

The strategy is part of Europe’s transition towards a circular economy, and will also contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, the global climate commitments and the EU’s industrial policy objectives. This strategy will help protect our environment, reduce marine litter, greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on imported fossil fuels. It will support more sustainable and safer consumption and production patterns for plastics.

Life Cycle Impact Assessment of Polylactic Acid (PLA)

In this study we provide up-to-date cradle to-gate information on the environmental  footprint of polylactic acid (PLA) producedin Thailand at commercial scale, covering emerging topics such as water footprint and direct land use change. The enormous potential to further reduce the environmental impacts of PLA through improvements in feedstock production as well as in the PLA manufacturing process is also demonstrated. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is performed according to the ISO 14040/44 standard methodology. The 16 environmental impact categories from ILCD 2011 Midpoint + were consideredfor the hotspot analysis. As primary data actual industrial data were used for the sugar production, lactic acid production (Corbion) and PLA production (Total Corbion PLA), including various recently developed process insights.

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Gerco Leeflang

European Project Director