Bioplastics: Myth or Solution? Green Drinks August Forum
- 08-08-2018 18:30 - 21:00
- naked Hub@Hunan Road, Shanghai
In recent times, biodegradable plastics have appeared as solutions to the global plastics crisis without demanding any change in consumer habits. Created from biologically based materials, bioplastics claim to be able to decompose completely. It is no wonder then that consumers are quick to jump on the bioplastics trend.
But what consumers often miss in the fine print, however, is that most "biodegradable" plastics can only biodegrade in an appropriate composting facility, which is much less accessible than that for single-use plastics. This means that a biodegradable cup, when not disposed properly, has the same negative impact on the environment as a regular plastic cup, with some ease on the consumer guilt. Biodegradable plastic is also not recyclable. In fact, mixing them with other recyclable plastics may harm the overall quality of the recycled plastic.
We believe that bioplastic needs more time to finetune its properties before it can save the planet. We must acknowledge that our current value system which places convenience above our health and the health of the planet is not sustainable, and that there is no quick and clean solution to work around this necessary mindset change. Regardless of what the verdict on bioplastics is, it is important for consumers to think critically about the promising solutions that green technologies seem to offer before subscribing whole-heartedly to the vision of sustainability promised by their marketing.
So what are the underlying biases and preconceived notions that we have about the products labelled "bio" or "green"? Are there other “bio”s that we need to be wary of?
Join us at the 112th Green Drinks Monthly Sustainability Forum for a discussion on solutions to the plastic crisis and the realistic impact of clean technologies such as bioplastics.
About the Speakers
Dr K Jim Jem
Background: Dr. Jem received his Ph.D. and 2 Masters degrees in biochemical engineering, and numerous awards in the USA, and worked 15 years in engineering, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies such as Ratheon, Serono, Diversa, with excellent track record with multiple awards. In 2000, he moved back to China to work for biotech and bioplastic companies such as Cargill and NatureWorks PLA. He has served as the China General Manager for Total Corbion PLA JV and previously for Corbion Purac since 2007, and serves as a Visiting Professor for several local Universities.
Other speaker bios will be updated shortly.