University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

  • Aiming Qi
  • Yuanzhi Ni
  • Goetz Richter
  • Onesmus N. Mwabonje
  • Martin K. Patel
  • Jeremy Woods
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Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Publication statusSubmitted - Jul 2020

Abstract

We investigate the potential for climate-smart biodegradable bio-plastics to support emergent ‘Net-Zero’ Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions targets in the UK. A ‘cradle to grave’ Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was developed to evaluate GHG mitigation potentials of polybutylene succinate (PBS) plastics produced from a wheat straw-only (single feedstock) or wheat straw plus Miscanthus (mixed feedstocks) agricultural supply system. For scenarios using mixed feedstocks, significant carbon mitigation potentials were identified at catchment and national levels (emission reduction by 30 kgCO2eq/kg plastic, compared to petroleum-based alternatives), making the system studied a significant net carbon sink at marginal GHG abatement costs of £-0.5 to 14.9/tCO2eq. We showed that an effective ‘Net-Zero’ transition of the UK’s agricultural sector needs spatially explicit, diversified and integrated cropping strategies. Such integration of perennial bio-materials into food production systems can unlock cost-effective terrestrial carbon sequestration. R&D and scale-up will lower costs helping deliver a sustainable bioeconomy and ‘Net-Zero’ transition.

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