Brilliant Little Planet (BLP) and Adapt Low Carbon Group, an innovation management consultancy and investor, have found that the use of biodegradable and biobased plastics in the forestry and landscaping sectors is still low due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of full life cost benefits.
BLP and Adapt carried out a market survey between November 2014 and January 2015 among 52 respondents in the named sectors across Europe who supply in bulk or use products such as tree spirals, marking tapes or tree anchors. The study reveals that while 8 out of 10 respondents use biodegradable products they believe the following matters hinder market growth:
* More than half (53%) think that the cost of a biodegradable product is deemed too high
* One in four (26%) respondents feel that products are not easily available
* Some 53% believe that businesses don’t know that these type of products exist.
William Coulet, Managing Director of Brilliant Little Planet, said: “It’s been eye-opening because while it’s considered ‘the thing to do’, many sectors are not embracing more sustainable solutions or buying eco-products. The most important thing that I would take away from this survey is that there is a great need to increase people’s knowledge of biodegradable alternatives to oil-based plastics; what they can be used for; how well they stand up when compared to products they are used to and where to get them.
“Most said that the cost of biodegradable products is too high. So it’s important to explain the life-cycle costs of both types of products, because while a bioproduct could have a 25% price premium, over time it will be cheaper. This is because biodegradable products don’t need to be collected from the initial site of planting, there are reductions in carbon emissions and on top of that there is no contamination issue. Ultimately, this is the most commercially and environmentally viable solution. We believe that BLP has a role to play in education and making a wide range of biobased and biodegradable products easily available.”
Dr Agnieszka Krzyzaniak, Business Innovation Manager at Adapt which is based at The University of East Anglia, said: “We’re keen advocates in sharing information and knowledge about the latest sustainable solutions to support business growth and help develop the bioeconomy. And this survey shows that much more support is needed in making information about biodegradable and biobased alternatives available to all users in the agricultural, forestry, and horticultural sectors. We’re pleased to work with businesses like Brilliant Little Planet which can help the industry make a more considered choice when buying products.”