What is it?
The Biobased economy or bioeconomy is an economy whereby vegetal and animal materials are the most important resources for our daily products. Momentary we are used to make these from fossil sources. So what we want is : ‘an economy where fossil is replaced by biomass’.
That sounds very easy, but because at the moment in almost every product fossil materials are used, the shift to a Biobased economy is complicated. Fossil resources (oil, gas, oil, peat) are not only used for energy, but also in plastics, fabrics, furniture, pesticides, fertilizers, potting soil and even in cosmetics and medicines.
The shift to a Biobased economy is necessary, because the use of fossil resources has enormous consequences for the environment: pollution and increase of CO2 content in the air. The last results in an increase in weather extremes such as drought and heavy precipitation. Measures are necessary to mitigate such as building water reservoirs. These are examples of the indirect costs of the use of fossil resources.
Using biobased materials instead keeps the CO2 cycle in balance.
Fair prises important
Financially the shift towards a Biobased economy is a big challenge; fossil materials are cheap due to decennia long optimisation by the petrochemical industry. However the follow-up costs (as for the environment) are not included in the prices.
Presently biobased products are slightly more expensive, but don’t have follow-up costs. Therefore it is advocated to use so called ‘fair pricing’. Measures like CO2 taxes or taxes on products instead on wages can contribute to that.
In a biobased economy the challenge is to get the maximum value out of plant materials. That means using all plant parts and plant compounds as smart as possible.
Because there is ‘no way back’ possible anymore and because of the Paris Climate agreement it is inevitable that we need to organise our society differently. The Biobased economy will take an important place in that and can offer good opportunities for entrepreneurs who can produce alternatives for fossil materials.
It is recently decided that single-used plastic products will be banned, such as straws, cleaning wipes, food packaging and plastic swabs. Alternatives for these disposable plastic products could be made from paper, wood or biodegradable plastics. And certainly this last category offers opportunities for the biobased economy. New knowledge and experience are more than needed for this. BioBoost want to do its bit regarding horticulture and has the ambition to speed up the transition to a biobased economy in this sector.