01.10.2021 -

Recyclable Bioplastics – 5 Myths Debunked

Recyclable bioplastics can occasionally stir up all kinds of confusion. We are here to debunk five claims that you may have come across on this polarizing subject. 

We as consumers go through a lot of different plastic on a weekly basis. Sometimes when you really think about it, the thought of how much plastic we use and need can be overwhelming. The fact is that with plastic, the supply meets the demand and it’s a very tough task to replace plastic with something else. 

This is why we have to create a better future for us all, and by combining recycling and bioplastics, this can be achieved since the idea is a very fitting alternative for conventional traditional plastics. 

Less use of fossil-based raw materials and implementing more biobased products is the key, but many wish to claim otherwise and quite strongly so. We will now go through some popular claims and examine if they actually are true. 

You can’t recycle bioplastics

A popular statement online. If we are strictly talking about biodegradable plastics, then there is certainly cause for concern in terms of recyclability. 

Biodegradable plastics come with technical challenges and there is not enough conclusive evidence about recyclability

Yes, you can recycle bioplastics

They are made for recycling and Woodly as a material also can be categorized and described as such. Recycling and bioplastics go together hand-in-hand quite well and it is imperative to remember this when recycling your waste.

They are of no use

Another claim that has to be taken head-on. Environmental goals and targets have been put on a pedestal in many industries, and plastics is no different. Greenhouse gas emissions and other concerning climate issues have given us many reasons to start using less fossil-based raw materials. 

The earth’s oil resources will eventually run out, although not for a long while, but we still need to lessen our dependency on oil.

Yes, they are useful 

Manufacturing bioplastics causes fewer emissions thus protecting the earth’s atmosphere from excessive carbon dioxide. They leave behind a significantly lower carbon footprint because of one simple thing. 

When fossil-based conventional traditional plastics are no longer suitable for recycling, the way to dispose of them is by incineration. These plastics are made from unrenewable raw materials like coal and when lit on fire, fossil carbon dioxide gets released and a lot of it. 

The same procedure is applied with bioplastics after their cycle has run out, but the CO2 emissions formed in burning bio-based will be compensated by the growth of vegetation. 

The food industry suffers from bioplastic manufacturing

Another claim that has gained some ground among sceptics. It is true that popular biomass ingredients like corn, sugarcane, and even yeast are used to create building blocks for manufacturing bioplastics.

Obviously wood is also a popular renewable biomass source. Our unique Woodly material is made from cellulose that originates certified and sustainably managed forests.  

But as to what comes to the food industry and bioplastics?

No, bioplastics do not affect the food industry 

The amount of the world’s arable land that is used to produce bioplastics is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. There is no competition with the food industry. Going forward, it is more than likely that biomass waste and forest-based materials will gain more ground in the bioplastic manufacturing process. 

Aren’t they low quality? 

One should remember that as a material, bioplastic can be customized into all kinds of shapes and sizes for various applications. Manufacturers are heavily focused on better performance and creating bioproducts that are sustainable and recyclable. 

Recyclable bioplastics like Woodly are not of low quality

Studies have shown that bioplastics are suitable for demanding purposes. Based on multiple promising results and researches, bioplastics will only get better moving forward. 

“With biobased plastics, one can combine the best of circular economy and bioeconomy. One can for example reuse cellulose fibres as a raw material source for bioplastics which will continue as part of circular material schemes,” says Woodly’s CTO Tommi Vuorinen.

Bioplastics will always be expensive

As of right now, manufacturing bioplastics does include more financial costs than fossil-based plastics. It is estimated that this will not be the case in the future. This is where recyclable bioplastics come into play. The opportunities that recycling creates are new, useful, and cost-efficient.

Recyclability will reduce the price of bioplastics

The economy of scale does not occur with every bioplastic but the price of oil will go up eventually. In general, fossil-based raw materials will not become cheaper as the years go by and it is only a matter of time before the “green premium” rates of bioplastics come down. 

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