An environmental and economic assessment of bioplastic from urban biowaste. The example of polyhydroxyalkanoate

Susanna Andreasi Bassi*, Alessio Boldrin, Giammarco Frenna, Thomas Fruergaard Astrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Bio-based and biodegradable plastics promise considerable reductions in our dependency on fossil fuels and in the environmental impacts of plastic waste. This study quantifies the environmental and economic consequences of diverting municipal food waste and wastewater sewage sludge from traditional management to the biorefinery-based production of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) in five geographical regions. The results show that PHA can outperform fossil polyurethane and PHA from first-generation biomass (sugarcane and maize) with respect to both environmental impacts and societal costs (four times lower impacts and eight times lower costs than polyurethane). To outperform other fossil polymers like low-density polyethylene (LDPE), biorefinery performance should be improved further by more efficient utilization of sodium hypochlorite during PHA extraction, minimization of methane leakage in biogas facilities, upgrading of biogas to biomethane, and more effective handling of the liquid fraction from digestate dewatering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124813
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume327
Number of pages11
ISSN0960-8524
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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