Report: Bioplastics pose no threat to food supply

EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: April 9, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: April 9, 2013 3:57 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability

BRUSSELS – The European Bioplastics association says bioplastics accounted for only 0.006 percent of the world's agricultural land in 2011 so is "nowhere near" in competition with food and feed supplies.

The association compiled data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites in Germany, which suggests that the surface required to grow sufficient feedstock for today's bioplastic production is less than 1 percent of the global agricultural area of five billion hectares.

"Metaphorically speaking, this ration correlates to the size of an average cherry tomato placed next to the Eiffel Tower," says the report.

Kristy-Barbara Lange, head of communications at European Bioplastics, says the association wanted to release the facts and move away from "emotional" talk about how to feed the world.

"For bioplastics we rely on certain feedstocks so there are lots of discussions about good agricultural practices," she told European Plastics News. "However, there are sometimes emotional discussions about feeding the growing global population."

She added: "Of course hunger is a problem but it has a lot to do with problems with distribution and waste. Production is actually sufficient."

According to the report, around 37 percent (5bn hectares) of the world's land surface is currently used for agriculture. This includes pastures (70 percent, approximately 3.5bn hectares) and arable land (30 percent, approximately 1.4bn hectare).

The 30 percent of arable land is further divided into areas predominantly used to grow crops for food and feed (27 percent, approximately 1.29bn hectares), as well as crops for materials (2 percent, approximately 100m hectares, including the share used for bioplastics), and crops for biofuels (1 percent, approximately 55m hectares).

However, European Bioplastics says bioplastic production capacities are growing faster outside Europe. In 2011, Europe accounted for 18.5 percent of global production but this is predicted to fall to 4.9 percent by 2016.

The association says the EU needs to implement more favourable framework conditions to attract investment and secure its place in the bioplastics market.

Lange says that unlike in the U.S. or Thailand, where there are concrete initiatives to support bioplastics, there is only general support in Europe.

"Europe is the important market for bioplastics - and research is strong - but some parts of the value chain are going amiss," she said.


Comments

Report: Bioplastics pose no threat to food supply

EUROPEAN PLASTICS NEWS

Published: April 9, 2013 3:55 pm ET
Updated: April 9, 2013 3:57 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

A. Schulman reports growth in sales and profit

October 22, 2014 7:58 pm ET

Executives with materials maker A. Schulman Inc. have to be smiling after seeing full results for the firm's 2014 fiscal year.    More

Image

PolyOne takes on LED lighting

October 22, 2014 4:23 pm ET

PolyOne Corp. is making inroads into LED lighting applications with its Therma-Tech-brand material technology.    More

Image

Simple lightweighting in packaging, caps not so simple anymore

October 22, 2014 4:16 pm ET

The days of finding simple ways to remove additional weight — and costs — from plastic bottles are over, according to one expert.    More

Image

Bergen International adds manufacturing space, extrusion line

October 22, 2014 3:42 pm ET

Chemical foaming agent manufacturer Bergen International LLC recently doubled its manufacturing capacity, added an extrusion line and laboratory...    More

Image

DuPont materials taking more ground in auto, medical, electronics

October 22, 2014 2:41 pm ET

Materials made by DuPont Co. are making inroads with products ranging from auto coolant pipes to circuit breakers to surgical devices.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events