Biobased plastics.

On Sustainability Day, my co-worker My My listened to a presentation given bij Inge Oskam about biobased plastic and she took part of a biobased workshop at the Dutch Design Week on Monday, October 20th. The term isn’t new, but how much do we know about it? It’s a relatively new innovative material which brings a lot of good aspects. There are, of course, also some bad aspects but let’s talk about the good ones first!

Biobased material means that the material is made from renewable raw materials consists. Next to biobased, you also have biodegraded materials. It’s important to separate these two terms! Biodegraded is the fact that the material is able to break down in the nature by itself and has nothing to do with how the material is created. Biobased plastic can reduce CO2 emissions about 30 tot 70% and it supports what we call Circular Economy. These materials are also reusable, recyclable, renewable and degradable. And biobased plastic is independent of fossil fuel. Biobased plastic can be combined with other materials such as: leather, bamboo, rice husks or wood.

Bioplastic 1 _ Studio Claire Hornn Bioplastic _ Studio Claire Hornn

Questions that are often asked about biobased plastic are: is it a unique waste stream, and should I separate biobased plastic from waste/regular plastics? It’s a tricky question because there aren’t actually a lot of products and packaging made of biobased plastic… You can actually put biobased plastic in the same bin as regular plastic. Waste management companies recycle about 40% to 50% of regular plastic, the rest is burned for green energy. In the future, this will probably change when more products/packagings will be made of biobased plastic. PLA (PolyLactic Acid) which biobased plastic is made of most of the time, is quite expensive: three to four times more expensive than regular plastic. The price will probably be lower in the future when the demand will grow on the market. At this moment it means that consumers aren’t all ready to pay more because a product/packaging is made of this material. Studio Claire Hornn’s believes that if designers decide to use biobased plastic more often, that consumers & producers will be more open and ready to use or pay for it!