Greenhouse gas emissions, land use and employment in a future global bioplastics economy

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

2 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

  • Yutong Jin
  • Manfred Lenzen
  • Alejandro Montoya
  • Bronwyn Laycock
  • Paul Lant
  • Mengyu Li
  • Richard Wood
  • Arunima Malik

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number106950
Journal / PublicationResources, Conservation and Recycling
Volume193
Online published17 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Plastics are among the most versatile materials in the world but pose a threat to the environment due to pollution of land, water, and air. Research has focused on developing natural substitutes for fossil-derived, non-degradable plastics, principally by replacing oil-based feedstocks with renewable feedstocks and by producing biodegradable alternatives, preferably from such feedstocks. With a resultant significant growth in production capacity for biobased plastics, there is a need to better understand the global implications of such a transition. Here we conduct a global multi-regional input-output analysis of plastic supply chains, with specific consideration of technological requirements of conventional and biobased plastic resources, monomers, polymers and final plastic products. We analyse a set of scenarios with varying levels of replacement of conventional processes with biobased processes. Under a full replacement scenario, we find greenhouse gas emission savings of 369 Mt (–1% of global emissions), an increase in land use of 65 Mha (+1.2% of global land use), and the generation of an additional 18 million jobs (+0.6% of global employment). Whilst principally these results show positive emission and employment outcomes, policy will be needed to further guide the transition in order to increase uptake, and to guard against potential negative outcomes related to increased land requirements. © 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Citation Format(s)

Greenhouse gas emissions, land use and employment in a future global bioplastics economy. / Jin, Yutong; Lenzen, Manfred; Montoya, Alejandro et al.
In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 193, 106950, 06.2023.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review