Origin Materials is getting ready to pay sawmills in the area $20 a ton for the scraps left over in the process of turning logs into lumber, which it will use to make recyclable plastic bottles that remove carbon-dioxide from the sky because they’re made from sustainably sourced wood waste.
…Other so-called bio-based plastics are being developed from sugar, corn, algae, seaweed, sewage and even dead beetles.
…However ingenious the techniques to make plant-based bottles may get, though, they’re still plastic. Not all varieties are recyclable or biodegradable. And ultimately unless they are recycled — and worldwide only one out of every five bottles is — plastic bottles inevitably end up in landfills where they may spew pollutants into the air, or worse, find their way into the oceans where most could take hundreds of years to degrade, killing birds, fish and whales in the process. When incinerating, bio-based plastics may be little better than oil-based ones because the carbon stored in them is released.
…Phasing out petroleum-based plastics will be an uphill battle. Use of the material has become so ingrained for societies around the world that about half of all new oil demand through 2040 will come from petrochemicals, an industry that relies on plastics for most of its business, according to BloombergNEF. The $500 billion global plastics market is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions.
…Nestle alone produces 1.7 million tons of plastic packaging a year. …Beverage makers like Coca-Cola Co. and Pepsi use a lot more than that. Coca-Cola rolled out its so-called plantbottle in 2009, but it’s still 70% petroleum based.