Conducting our operations in sympathy with the environment underpins our business model. We have an environmental policy and measure our performance. Our products can help change the world and we ensure our supporting activities and actions match this high standard. By way of example, power used in our operations is sourced from renewable sources, further lowering the carbon footprint of our products.
Society is facing important questions. How do we live sustainably and enjoy a high quality standard of living? How will our developed world function beyond cheap oil? Can we continue to throw away so much of what we make? Bioplastics are part of the answer.
Conventional, oil based plastics are ubiquitous – many were invented in the early 20th century and they became part of everyday life from the 50s onwards. Now, they can be found throughout our homes and cars, in our workplaces and leisure activities. They range from short life packaging products that are used for a day and then discarded, through consumer durables and electronics to long life physical infrastructure that endures for decades. Oil based plastics have been so successful due to their low cost related to their oil based origins and their ability to be processed rapidly in mass production.
Modern bioplastics are now challenging the dominance of their “petro” cousins. Today’s bioplastics are being developed with the functional capability to substitute in many existing plastic applications and allowing them to be transformed on the existing infrastructure of conversion equipment.
Conventional wisdom regarding bioplastics sees them used in shopping bags, short-life packaging and disposable items but this is changing as their attributes are enhanced. Bioplastics can, but don’t have to decompose rapidly. Advances in science allow them to perform their required uses for decades if required.
Today’s bioplastics are derived from sustainable plant sources, reducing their exposure to oil price inflation. As the underlying biomass for bioplastics is grown, CO2 is converted into the polymer structures that form these innovative materials. This CO2 is held in the plastic’s structure until it is released through the materials eventual degradation that can range from months to decades later. Consider it a form of “material” carbon sequestration that produces a useful product!
The questions we should be asking is “Why not bioplastics?”