Bio-Based Plastics Aim to Capture Carbon. But at What Cost? – Wired Magazine

Packaging peanuts made from thermoplastic starch (by Christian Gahle, nova-Institut GmbH, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia).

Growing crops to make plastic may theoretically reduce reliance on fossil fuels, but at an enormous environmental cost…bio-based plastics are problematic for a variety of reasons. It would take an astounding amount of land and water to grow enough plants to replace traditional plastics — plus energy is needed to produce and ship it all…But let’s say there was a large-scale shift to bioplastics — what would that mean for future emissions? That’s what a new paper in the journal Nature set out to estimate…

Don’t Overestimate Bioplastics’ Benefits – Hakai Magazine

Pros and cons of biodegradable plastics and bioplastics (by GRID-Arendal CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr

Bioplastics may avoid some of the issues associated with non-biodegradable fossil fuel­–derived plastics, but they’re no panacea.

Plastics produced from plants are often considered less environmentally damaging than plastics made from petrochemicals. But scientists are warning that we should be careful making such assumptions…