Bio-based plastics made from forest resource have been under study for years.
Many can serve as drop-in replacements for the fossil-fuel based plastics that most of us are familiar with, such as polystyrene and polyethylene.
Overseas the momentum for a new bio-plastics industry is building. The UK government has set a target of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.
Bioplastics will play a crucial role in achieving this target. The European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB) are launching a new €100 million fund to stimulate private investment in this bio economy.
A key opportunity for New Zealand is investigating ways forest slash might be turned into bio products including plastics. This would be an entirely new industry requiring careful integration of forestry practice with new technologies, systems and market opportunity.