The cost of research and development still makes up for a share of investment in bioplastics and has an impact on material and product prices. Additionally, the currently low oil prices are making it difficult for bioplastics to achieve competitive pricing levels compared to conventional plastics at present. However, prices have continuously been decreasing over the past decade. As more companies and brands are switching to bio-based plastics, and as production capacities are rising, supply chains and processes are becoming more efficient, and prices have come down significantly. With rising demand and more efficient production processes, increasing volumes of bioplastics on the market, and oil prices expected to rise again, the costs for bioplastics will soon be comparable with those for conventional plastic prices. Moreover, specific material properties of bioplastic materials can allow for a reduction of the overall volumes of materials needed for a product or application as well as for cost reduction in the use or end-of-life phase. Already today, there are several examples of cost-competitive bioplastic materials and products. – European-Bioplastics.org
One of the biggest challenges I see with bioplastics is the ability to compost them. There are facilities that will accept and even come to you to collect your compostables. Do a search in your community to see if there are commercial composting facilities nearby. The best resource I’ve found so far is from the US Composting Council. These facilities have received the STA Certification which demonstrates that their compost has gone through a series of tests to ensure it’s quality. https://www.compostingcouncil.org/page/participants
Another option is to bring a commercial composting unit to your camp or community. While this may seem like a costly solution upfront, there are some cases to be made for the opportunity to save and even generate income by operating a composter at your facility. Especially during these hard times when camps are looking for innovative ways to generate revenue to keep afloat.
If you aren’t able to find a solution to compost your bioplastic products they will probably end up in the landfill. This is where many arguments come up questioning the environmental value of bioplastics. In an ideal world, everyone would have access to the resources to help better manage their waste stream. My hope is that as a result of moving to more sustainable solutions you can help influence systemic change that will make living a “green” lifestyle that much more accessible.
Leveraging the educational and economic benefits of bioplastics.
Green Camps has always focused on the educational opportunities of modeling sustainability to inspire green behavior change in their campers and staff. Bringing in bioplastics to replace single-use items is just one of many ways to model sustainability.
I was recently connected with someone who distributes bioplastics and loves the work of Green Camps. So much so that he will be making a donation for orders referred by Green Camps.
There are some cost-competitive bioplastic materials and products and as this industry becomes more competitive prices will continue to drop. To further reduce cost, I’d like to help facilitate collaboration between regional camps to reduce the shipping costs of the products.
As I mentioned at the get-go, bioplastics alone will not solve the environmental crisis! My hope is that by replacing even just one of your single-use plastic items with bioplastics you can engage your campers and staff with an example of a sustainable solution. Consider the importance of 21st Century Learning Skills in helping our youth address the huge environmental challenges faced by our planet.
To support you in this effort, Green Camps will be designing an educational resource to give to camps who want to teach their campers and staff about bioplastics. It could be as simple as a poster in your dining hall or a write up of a lesson or engaging activity. Please let us know what kind of resources would make the most sense to help you inspire green behavior change in your campers and staff.
If you’re interested in learning more about the procurement of bioplastics please fill out the form below and we’ll send you the catalog and generate a quote based on your interest.