….but you wouldn’t listen. You had to go ahead and do it anyway, and only now, when things are getting serious, are you figuring it out yourself. These are words parents say to teenagers, and conservatives say to liberals. In teenage land, you end up with pregnancies, STDs, and substance abuse. In liberal land, you end up with increased greenhouse gases and world starvation:
The worldwide effort by supermarkets and industry to replace conventional oil-based plastic with eco-friendly “bioplastics” made from plants is causing environmental problems and consumer confusion, according to a Guardian study.
The substitutes can increase emissions of greenhouse gases on landfill sites, some need high temperatures to decompose and others cannot be recycled in Britain.
Many of the bioplastics are also contributing to the global food crisis by taking over large areas of land previously used to grow crops for human consumption.
The market for bioplastics, which are made from maize, sugarcane, wheat and other crops, is growing by 20-30% a year.
Concern is mounting because the new generation of biodegradable plastics ends up on landfill sites, where they degrade without oxygen, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This week the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration reported a sharp increase in global methane emissions last year.
“It is just not possible to capture all the methane from landfill sites,” said Michael Warhurt, resources campaigner at Friends of the Earth. “A significant percentage leaks to the atmosphere.”
“Just because it’s biodegradable does not mean it’s good. If it goes to landfill it breaks down to methane. Only a percentage is captured,” said Peter Skelton of Wrap, the UK government-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme. “In theory bioplastics are good. But in practice there are lots of barriers.”
Bioplastics compete for land with biofuels and food crops. About 200,000 tonnes of bioplastics were produced last year, requiring 250,000-350,000 tonnes of crops. The industry is forecast to need several million acres of farmland within four years.
I like to say “I told you so” when I forecast something good, viz, “I told you you’d get the promotion.” It depresses me when I forecast something bad.