Does Floreon create Methane in Landfill?

Floreon is the worlds most versatile bioplastic and has a number of end of life options. Whilst Floreon can be recycled, used for energy recovery or disposed of via industrial composting some concerns have been raised about bioplastics if they end up in landfill.

Sadly not all plastic waste does get recycled and a lot of it will still end up in landfill. This is far from an ideal scenario for any plastic. One misconception about bioplastics however is that due to the environment inside a landfill, they may degrade to produce methane.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, over 20 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. If bioplastics in landfill were producing methane then there would be concerns about the effect on global warming.

But the reality is Floreon does not biodegrade in a conventional landfill site, and more the point neither does anything else. This is because a standard landfill site does not offer the climate needed to compost. PLA producers Natureworks have published a peer reviewed paper which demonstrates that their material (which makes up over 90% of Floreon) is stable in landfill conditions and does not produce a significant amount of methane or ‘biogas’ (1).

Whilst landfill is not a desirable end of life option, bioplastics like PLA and Floreon compare favourably to other ‘fossil’ plastics in terms of carbon footprint because they are derived from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the first place. Plants take in the carbon dioxide and convert it into sugars which can then be fermented to produce the building blocks for plastic. To reference Natureworks again, using PLA results in 75% less greenhouse gas emissions than the oil based plastic it replaces even if both end up in landfill (2).

(1) http://www.natureworksllc.com/The-Ingeo-Journey/End-of-Life-Options/Landfill 

(2) http://www.natureworksllc.com/The-Ingeo-Journey/End-of-Life-Options

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