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
Companies & Associations

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

Resin prices remain unpredictable

April 27, 2015 12:23 pm ET

Oil prices leveled off a bit in March, but North American commodity resin prices remained as unpredictable as ever.    More

Image

Dow Chemical bullish about prospect for global polyurethane markets

April 27, 2015 11:17 am ET

MAASTRICHT, THE NETHERLANDS — Glenn Wright, president of Dow Chemical Co.’s polyurethanes and formulated systems business, revealed that...    More

Image

PolyOne launches Geon BIO PVC using soy-based materials

April 24, 2015 11:48 am ET

More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp.    More

Image

Study suggests infants at lower risk from BPA exposure than expected

April 23, 2015 4:58 pm ET

A new study shows that newborn babies may have less risk from bisphenol A exposure than originally thought.    More

Image

Braskem and Odebrecht reconsidering West Virginia plastics project

April 23, 2015 2:54 pm ET

Brazilian firms Braskem and Odebrecht have confirmed that they are re-evaluating Project Ascent, the major plastics and petrochemicals project they ha...    More

Market Reports

North American Thermoformed Packaging Market Outlook & Review 2015

Our annual report provides a thorough review and analysis of economic and political conditions, emerging market trends, packaging design advances, materials pricing and sustainable packaging issues impacting supply and demand in the TP segment. Our analysts identify key drivers of growth and opportunities for processors to remain competitive in the years ahead through innovation, production efficiencies and more.

Learn more

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 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

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

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events