Technological watch

Rethinking the use of bio-based plastics to accelerate the decarbonization of our society

The need to tackle the current environmental impact of plastics is driving the development of new bio-based materials. Although these bioplastics offer carbon footprint reductions, their role in a more sustainable economy is still unclear. Herein, a systematic review was performed to understand the impact of producing bioplastics. This information was used to perform a life cycle assessment considering different end-of-life scenarios. Then a Smart Use of Materials based on the assumption of only using certain materials in targeted applications was proposed. It was found that the dedicated use of bio-polyethylene terephthalate for packaging and polylactic acid for textiles can offer a carbon footprint reduction of up to 67% and 80% respectively. Therefore, we present a major opportunity to decarbonize our society using current technologies and supply chains. This concept contributes to building a society that understands the place of bio-based materials and addresses pollution from a material selection perspective.

Publication date: 01/11/2022

Author: Antonio Suarez, Ericka Ford, Richard Venditti, Stephen Kelley, Daniel Saloni, Ronalds Gonzalez

Resources, Conservation and Recycling


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.