Tagged with 'recycling'

Household plastic recycling is a disaster; can biobased plastics be part of the solution?

Plastic recycling

From the 8 billion metric tons of plastics which have been produced since the 1950’s hardly 10% has been recycled. Recycling of plastic waste is problematic in general, but this pertains especially to the highly polluted, fragmented mix of household plastics. To make anything useful out of this diverse stream is increasingly becoming a herculean task. With the global production of plastic set to double within the next 15 years we need swift and concrete solutions. Marginal gains won’t get us out of this recycling mess. Fortunately, there are ways to solve it and biobased materials are part of the answer.

 

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Dutch government chooses to recycle biobased paper hot cups

In the last few years the Dutch government has selected sustainability as one of the cornerstones of it policy. This commitment is also reflected in their increased use of biobased products, which are wholly or partly derived from renewable resources i.e. plants. Following on from this, the government decided to take action against the use of non-biodegradable plastic cups, which are still commonly used in the workplace. Meanwhile, various companies and governments have already opted for the large-scale purchasing of sustainable types of hot (beverage) cups. The Dutch government did not lag behind and decided to purchase paper cups with a polylactic acid (PLA) coating. PLA is a biobased and compostable plastic. Until 2017, these PLA cups were nevertheless processed in a waste energy plant, in other words incinerated. For this reason, the government’s purchasers requested Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and TNO to carry out an environmental analysis. In this study, two sustainable end-of-life routes, after separate collection of the used PLA cups, were compared: recycling or digestion plus composting. The report has revealed that recycled cups have a better environmental performance.  
(Unfortunately only available in Dutch

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