If it wasn’t clear before, the coronavirus pandemic has shown the negative effects that humans have had on the world. During the 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.
However, a biochemicals company from the Netherlands, Avantium, is hoping to address that with their new plant-based plastics which will be made from sustainably grown crops. It seems that this project has managed to garner quite a bit of attention from pretty big companies, such as Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, and Danone, all of whom have plans to use Avantium’s technology in future products.
Plastic, for the most part, is made from fossil fuels. The problem with the current design is that they are not exactly biodegradable, and combine that with the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource. Avantium’s plant-based plastics on the other hand are, where they have been designed to decompose in one year when used with a composter, although the company says that ideally they should be recycled.
However, 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. That being said, plant-based plastics isn’t exactly a new concept. We’ve seen how some plastics are made from genetically-modified corn, although some have argued that while it might be better than fossil fuel based plastics, it isn’t necessarily a “fix” for the current problem.