During the Corona lockdown, we’ve seen air pollution levels drop by quite a bit, but that’s really only the tip of the iceberg. There are still environmental issues that need to be solved, such as plastics and how we use them.
A biochemicals company from the Netherlands, Avantium, is hoping to address this with their new plant-based plastics which are made from sustainably grown crops. This project has managed to garner a lot of attention from pretty big companies, like Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, and Danone, all of whom have plans to use Avantium’s technology in the future.
Plastic is mostly made from fossil fuels. But the current design is not exactly biodegradable, and fossil fuels are a finite resource. These plant-based plastics have been designed to decompose in one year when used with a composter, although the company says that ideally they should be recycled.
The ability to decompose within a relatively short amount of time means that landfills will not be sitting on mountains of plastic that will never go away. We like that idea a lot. Plant-based plastics aren’t new. Some plastics are made from genetically-modified corn, though some have argued that while it might be better than fossil fuel-based plastics, it isn’t a “fix” for the problem.