Earth911 talks with Dr. Oliver Peoples, president and CEO of Yield10 Bioscience Inc., about the company’s development of plant-based bioplastic made from flax (Camelina) seeds. Plastic is the most challenging modern material. It is ubiquitous and a major source of pollution, particularly in our oceans. But only about 8% of the 8.3 billion tons of plastics produced annually are recycled. By 2050, the world is expected to need more than 34 billion tons of plastic per year, but we cannot afford the environmental damage associated with petroleum-based plastics. Bioplastics, which are made from plant material and organic waste, can change our future, reducing our need to extract oil from the ground and making the resulting waste more environmentally friendly because bioplastic breaks down without leaving harmful “forever chemicals” in the ground and water. Yield10 Bioscience recently announced a successful field test to grow oilseeds that can be used to produce biodegradable PHA bioplastics that could help replace petroleum-based plastics.
Dr. People’s discusses the benefits of Camelina as a rotation crop — it produces usable oils and animal feed in addition to the PHA polymer to make bioplastic — and the low- to negative-carbon production process required to make it. The material can replace plastic films, rigid and flexible plastics such as bottles and caps. He also addresses the use of bio-engineering technology to increase the seeds’ PHA polymer production. Take a few minutes to learn about this emerging alternative to petroleum-based plastics. Visit Yield10 Bioscience to learn more.