We all know that plastic waste is a global crisis, but how often do you think about where plastic comes from?
Of all new plastic, 99% is made from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, meaning the plastic that we use today starts trashing our planet long before it becomes trash. From the moment they’re made, these conventional plastics are contributing to climate change, degrading habitats, and threatening communities around the world.
Reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic are priority first steps in addressing the plastic crisis, but we cannot rely on these tactics alone. We will always need some new plastic to fill critical health and safety needs, but that new plastic does not need to be made from fossil fuels.
Plant-based plastic—also known as bioplastic or biobased plastic—comes from sources like algae, sugarcane, or used cooking oil, and can de-couple plastic production from the impacts of fossil fuels. However, plant-based plastic must be thoughtfully designed to build environmental, social, and economic resilience across ecosystems and communities. Over a decade ago, WWF realized that plant-based plastic and its sourcing was a cross-cutting issue that affected the habitats, wildlife, and people that we aim to protect. We convened the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA) in 2012 to advance knowledge on this critical and complex topic and ensure that plant-based plastic reaches its potential to benefit nature and people.