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Open AccessArticle

Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Bioplastics Production Systems and End-of-Life Options

1
The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, 126 Prachauthit, Bangmod, Tungkru, Bangkok 10140, Thailand
2
Center of Excellence on Energy Technology and Environment, PERDO, Bangkok 10140, Thailand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040952
Received: 16 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 24 March 2018
Bioplastics demand has been increased globally due to concerns regarding environmentally friendly consumption and production. Polylactic acid (PLA), polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), and polybutylene succinate (PBS) are promising bioplastics with bio-based feedstocks and property of biodegradability. They are produced by bacterial fermentation of sugars from carbohydrate sources. With flexibility in their properties, PLA, PHAs, and PBS can potentially substitute conventional plastics such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polystyrene (PS). This study aims at evaluating the environmental and economic sustainability of bioplastics production together with end-of-life (EOL) options. The combination of environmental and economic indicators, eco-efficiency (E/E), was selected to investigate the performance of PLA, PHAs, and PBS from sugarcane and cassava in comparison with PP. The environmental impacts were determined using life cycle assessment. The product cost was used to represent the economic value. The E/E results showed that the environmental and economic sustainability could be enhanced with 100% mechanical recycling of all kinds of studied plastics. It is also important to highlight that mechanical recycling showed a better performance in terms of E/E than composting of bioplastics. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioplastic; eco-efficiency; LCA; PBS; PHAs; PLA bioplastic; eco-efficiency; LCA; PBS; PHAs; PLA
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Changwichan, K.; Silalertruksa, T.; Gheewala, S.H. Eco-Efficiency Assessment of Bioplastics Production Systems and End-of-Life Options. Sustainability 2018, 10, 952.

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