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Comparison of the environmental impact of ceramic plates vs biodegradable corn starch plates

Comparison of the environmental impact of ceramic plates vs biodegradable corn starch plates

how sustainable is…

This study compares the environmental impact of (conventional) ceramic plates and biodegradable corn starch plates.

The study covers the environmental impact of the two products from manufacture and use to disposal. However, it excludes the environmental impact from the recovery of the raw materials (e.g. mining in the case of ceramic plates or corn production in the case of corn starch plates); primary processing (e.g. production of Polylactic Acid pellets in the case of corn starch plates); and transport of the raw materials to the site of manufacture. Instead, it starts with the environmental impacts associated with the production of the materials. The study also assumes that the biodegradable corn starch plates are sent to the incinerator rather than being composted. As such, the study results are of limited value.

Based on the above assumptions, the study finds that if ceramic plates are used at least 50 times before being disposed of, the combined environmental impact of their manufacture, use and disposal is lower than that of corn starch plates (assumed to be used only once).

Link to full report

While we make every effort to be accurate, we do not claim that this summary is representative. Please refer to our Legal Disclaimer for details.

what can I do to reduce my environmental footprint?

As the report excludes the environmental impact associated with the recovery and primary processing of the raw materials and assumes that the corn starch plates are send to an incinerator rather than being composted locally, it is not possible to make a simple recommendation as to which types of plates to choose.

Report Rating: 1 out of 3

Report Published: June 2008

Country: USA

Author(s): Mita Broca

Publisher: Tufts University

Funder: unknown

Keywords: life cycle analysis, LCA, cradle to grave analysis, environmental footprint, environmental impact, dishes, plates, ceramic, corn starch, biodegradable, crockery, compostable

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