While plastics waste is a problem that needs to be solved, we have to be careful and evaluate each option on all aspects such as life cycle, total generation of CO2 for production not just per Kg. and per unit volume and total amount of energy and water needed to use it for the whole life cycle but also evaluate each option for its performance in terms of barrier properties to keep its contents safe, and meet requirements of mechanical properties, cost and transparency where needed.
Many who have good intentions assume that and advocate that bio-plastics are the solution, without realizing that they are more expensive and generate more carbon dioxide when they degrade and use up more energy and water than conventional non-bio-based plastics. Plant based sounds good until you think through the Life Cycle. Growing plants requires huge quantities of herbicides and pesticides as well as diesel fuel and irrigation.
Mixed recycle feed streams containing bioplastics are difficult to reprocess. They pollute the existing polyester recycle feed streams which makes them expensive or impossible to reuse.
Similarly, plasma gasification works great with some plastics based on their chemistry but not with other plastics.
What we need is a well thought out multi-option approach that selects the right plastic for each application based on the criteria I have outlined above, but which includes collection, recycling and disposal as well. Part of this should also include change of habits where each of us in this world properly disposes of all waste as well as investment in infrastructure for disposal, collection, separation and so that the amount of plastic waste ending up in landfills and lakes, rivers and oceans is reduced, eventually to zero.
Consulting experience to push forward these ideas.