Technological watch

The Switch to Biobased Products: Are You Answering the Call?

Have you heard the rallying cry? It’s a call that gets louder and louder with each passing year. A call for all of us––shoppers, businesses, and federal agencies alike––to support increased sustainability.

Yet what does that really mean… or require? At its core, increased sustainability is a holistic approach that integrates environmental, social, and economic considerations into decision-making processes. It involves a shift in mindset, policies, and practices to create a world where current and future generations can thrive within the planet’s ecological limits. Sustainability strives to balance the needs of people, the planet, and prosperity to create a more resilient and equitable global society.

A prime example of sustainability in action is buying (and using) biobased products rather than petroleum-based options, at home and in the office.

Biobased products are all around us––from soy-based insulation to bioplastics made with cornstarch to sugarcane-derived shopping bags. Made from plants and other agricultural, marine, and forestry materials, examples of biobased products include construction materials, custodial supplies, and consumer-based personal care products and packaging. Biobased products also include intermediate-use feedstocks such as biopolymers (naturally occurring materials like wool, silk, and seed oils; and polysaccharides like cellulose and starch drawn from fungi and bacteria) and biobased chemicals used to create commercial, industrial, or consumer goods.

There are myriad reasons to adopt biobased products:

  • Renewable resources: The use of renewable biological resources ensures a continuous and sustainable supply chain. These products are sourced from crops that can be replanted and cultivated, providing a continuous cycle that does not deplete finite resources.
  • Soil and water conservation: The cultivation of biobased resources often involves environmentally friendly farming practices, promoting soil health and reducing water consumption compared to traditional agriculture. These more sustainable approaches help to mitigate the negative impact on ecosystems and foster biodiversity.
  • Carbon footprint reduction: One of the primary advantages of biobased products is their potential to significantly reduce carbon footprints. Unlike their petroleum-based counterparts, which release carbon stored for millions of years, biobased products harness the power of recently captured carbon. This not only curtails greenhouse gas emissions but also contributes to a more sustainable and circular carbon economy.
  • The fact is, shifting towards sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity; and biobased products can help to pave the way for consumption patterns that better harmonize with the planet’s capacity for regeneration. Biobased products have the potential to reshape industries and mitigate environmental challenges. By embracing these alternatives, we not only reduce our carbon footprint but also contribute to a future where the delicate balance between human progress and environmental preservation can be restored. It’s time for all of us to make the switch from petroleum-based products to biobased options, sparking a collective journey toward a more sustainable and resilient world.

    Publication date: 06/03/2024

    Author: Marion Kupfer

    Bio-based News


    This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.