Sustainable materials alternative to petrochemical plastics pollution: A review analysis

Narendra SINGH, Oladele A. OGUNSEITAN, Ming Hung WONG, Yuanyuan TANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The upward trend of global demand for fossil-fuel energy for non-energy purposes especially for the production of plastics, and non-renewable energy use (NREU) and global warming potential of the plastics life cycle is poorly understood. Alternatives to petrochemical plastics have been researched intensely, but they have not been developed to replace current plastic products at a commercially viable scale. Here, we identify challenges facing to energy intensiveness of plastic production, land use crisis for biomass production, and non-renewable energy use and global warming potential on the life cycle of plastics, and we propose a material lifecycle perspective for bioplastics. Our estimate shows that an average of about 13.8 exajoule (EJ), ranging from 10.9 to 16.7 EJ, of fossil-fuel energy consumed in 2019 was diverted to fossil-fuel feedstock for the production of plastics worldwide, this translates between 2.8 and 4.1% share of the total consumed fossil-fuel energy globally. The life cycle analysis estimate shows that bioplastics produced from 2nd generation feedstock have 25% less NREU than that of 1st generation, while the bioplastics from 1st generation feedstock required about 86% less NREU than that of petrochemical plastics. Similarly, the estimates of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions show that the reduction of GHG emission was about 187% more in biomass feedstock than that of petrochemical plastics. We conclude by presenting strategies for improving the recyclability of biological plastics through polymer design, application biotechnology, and by adopting a circular bio-based economy. Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of Southern University of Science and Technology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100016
JournalSustainable Horizons
Volume2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Citation

Singh, N., Ogunseitan, O. A., Wong, M. H., & Tang, Y. (2022). Sustainable materials alternative to petrochemical plastics pollution: A review analysis. Sustainable Horizons, 2. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.horiz.2022.100016

Keywords

  • Biological plastics
  • Petrochemical plastics
  • Energy savings
  • Non-renewable energy use
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Sustainability

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable materials alternative to petrochemical plastics pollution: A review analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.