Depicting the challenges and trade-offs of introducing bio-based plastics in the food packaging value chain
Lecturer in Environmental Management, Eleni Iacovidou alongside a number of esteemed co-authors recently published a study to showcase the challenges and trade-offs of bio-based plastics in food packaging.
As global plastic pollution is gaining increased attention, the use of bio-based plastics, especially in the food packaging sector, is growing in popularity. While this move is regarded as a solution to plastic pollution, it may shift or create detrimental impacts elsewhere in the production, consumption, management system, a possibility that is under-explored. The aim of this study is to identify the potential challenges and trade-offs associated with the introduction of bio-based plastics in the food packaging industry, and highlight issues relevant to policy and decision-making processes.
The study highlights that the sustainability assessment of specific bio-based polymers requires thorough and further research that takes into account the type of feedstock, infrastructure availability, and interactions between sustainability domains, to ensure that the substitution of petrochemical-based plastics with bio-based alternatives in food packaging sector will not lead to unintended consequences.
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