♻️ Plant-Based Plastics Gain Favor as Companies Pursue Sustainability Goals
Bioplastics are expanding faster than recycled plastic in some cases, such as in Asian countries like China and Japan that are mandating more ecologically friendly materials, nova-Institute founder Michael Carus said. Even if global plastic recycling rates someday reach 70% compared with around 9% today, bioplastics alongside materials made from captured carbon dioxide will have a big role to play as the world transitions away from fossil-fuel-based materials.
The strongest demand for bioplastics is currently from fashion and food-packaging companies, but interest is also rising from companies in cosmetics, electronics and more durable goods such as tools, Eastman Chemical’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Killian said. Some of the earliest adopters of bioplastics are fashion companies, including Lululemon, which has a goal to replace the majority of oil-based nylon with plant-based nylon by 2030.
This year, Dow struck an agreement with biomass refinery startup New Energy Blue to buy bioethylene made from the stalks and leaves of corn grown in Iowa. Dow will then make conventional and recyclable plastics from the material and sell to companies in transportation, footwear, and packaging.