Sustainability of biobased plastics

The general background to this study is set out in a government paper (available here), a key premise of which is that government support (e.g. via subsidies or regulations) driven by sustainability motives must be backed up by criteria that indeed guarantee such benefits. This is also the premise from which this study proceeds.

Complementing the government’s initial policy analysis, two questions are addressed:

  1. How sustainable are biobased plastics compared with their petrochemical counterparts? What are the most crucial aspects and where do the uncertainties lie?
  2. How can a framework for assessing the sustainability of biobased plastics best be designed? What sustainability criteria should biobased plastics satisfy?