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  (Source: greenvisionenterprises.com)

  (Source: University of Pittsburgh)
Chemical processing and the farming required to produce biopolymers make them less environmentally friendly

University of Pittsburgh researchers have found that plant-based plastics are not more environmentally friendly than petroleum-derived plastics. 

Michelangelo Tabone, lead author of the study, along with University of Pittsburgh researchers Amy Landis, James Cregg and Eric Beckman have analyzed the environmental benefits of plant-based plastics versus oil-based plastics and found that biopolymers are not as green as previously thought. 

While biopolymers are a more environmentally friendly materials that beat other plastics when it comes to toxicity and biodegradability, the chemical processing and farming required to create this material makes it not so eco-friendly. 

Researchers came to this conclusion by observing 12 plastics. Seven of them were petroleum-based polymers, four were biopolymers and one was a hybrid of the two. Researchers then gauged the health and environmental effects of the raw materials, energy and chemicals used to create one ounce of plastic pellets by performing a life-cycle assessment (LCA) on each polymer in its preproduction stage. When the polymer reached its "finished form," researchers checked each polymer again for energy efficiency, toxicity, wastefulness and biodegradability. 

The study concluded that biopolymers were more abundant polluters than the others during the production process. The reason for this, according to researchers, was because of extensive land use for farming, the intense chemical processing, pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, the study says the four biopolymers were "the largest contributors to ozone depletion." These biopolymers also beat the petroleum-based polymers when it came to carcinogen emissions and ecotoxicity. 

Despite the negative aspects of the path to production of biopolymers, this material trumped conventional polymers once it was put to use. Biopolymers are more eco-friendly after production. On the other hand, "ubiquitous" plastic polypropylene is a clean polymer to produce, but becomes less eco-friendly once put to use. The University of Pittsburgh researchers have provided a chart to show environmental contributions of each polymer.

This study was published in Environmental Science and Technology.



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RE: Petroleum demand
By Iaiken on 10/25/2010 12:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
hey just bought out Conoco's rights to Canada's massive oil sands and others around the world.


You make it sound like they bought up a significant amount when in fact Sinopec only purchased a 9% stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd. Furthermore, the Chinese government only owns about a 17% average stake in Canadas oil sands businesses (counting only those businesses where it owns more than a 5% stake, aggregated by value).

You also forgot to mention that under Canadian law it is illegal for a state-owned corporations to hold controlling shares of anything classified as a strategic resource. These include all manner of minerals, coal, oil, gas and water.

The government has the power to seize shares from state-owned corporations if it is found that several different state-owned corporations shares combine to a controlling share. In these cases, the government pays out current market value for enough of those shares to remove the controlling interest and puts them back up for sale to the public.

quote:
Foreign companies/countries are not restricted by our laws on cartels and will operate like OPEC. They will place tremendous political pressures by restricting the world supply to get their way.


This is precisely why the above laws and enforcement strategies were enacted.


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