Bio-plastics such as polylactic acid (PLA) have been investigated as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based plastics. In this study, the carbon footprint of packaging films made from LDPE, PLA, and PLA/PBAT blends was measured with three different waste scenarios based on the database of South Korea using life cycle assessment (LCA). The LCA followed ISO standards, and was a cradle-to-grave analysis. The functional unit was defined as 400,000 pieces of a film of 300 × 250 mm with thickness of 0.06 mm for packaging bag manufacturing. The waste treatments considered were incineration, landfill, and recycling applied with the present conditions of South Korea. Under the present analysis conditions, the PLA film with landfill was the most effective for reducing carbon emission. The PLA/PBAT with incineration was the worst case among the packaging films tested. Incineration was the worst choice of waste treatment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. Generally, landfill may not be the best option in terms of sustainability but landfill was a better option for waste treatment than incineration. In addition, before bio-plastics are blended with other material, the blending material should first be evaluated for its environmental impact. The blended bio-plastics with PLA, such as PLA/PBAT, can be more inimical to the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions than existing materials, such as LDPE.
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