Brazil Scenario in the Bioplastic Context
Brazil is a reference regarding the use of its biomass and has full capacity in the development of more sustainable products, such as bioplastics. However, it is still necessary to leverage this market so that it reaches balanced competitiveness in the conventional plastics market – through scientific advances, as well as the use and development of new technologies that can reduce production costs.
Also, it is essential to implement public policies that encourage and ensure the application of resources for the growth and consolidation of companies in the sector.
In Brazil, the National Solid Waste Policy is a law (Law No. 12,305 / 10) that encourages the country to practice recycling, through reverse logistics, requiring transparency in the management of its waste from public and private sectors.
Although this law has existed for 10 years and encourages the development of clean technologies, some specific laws for the use of biodegradable materials to replace conventional plastics are more recent.
Specifically, in the State of São Paulo, only in July 2019, Law No. 17,110 was sanctioned, which prohibits the supply of plastic straws throughout the State, encouraging the substitution by recyclable paper straws, edible or biodegradable materials, individually wrapped in envelopes prepared from the same materials.
In addition to the economic, social and political challenges with the viability and use of bioplastics compared to disposables, Brazil has another concern for social impact. Although advancing and creating new technologies to replace conventional plastics with biodegradable ones are environmentally beneficial, we have to consider the impact that these alternatives will have on the income of recyclable material collectors (waste pickers). The work of the waste pickers in many cases is carried out in precarious conditions and can occur autonomously or collectively through articulation in cooperative networks.
The objective of the Brazil team is to address the social challenges and impacts of bioplastic packaging across the supply chain, especially as it relates to waste infrastructure. We are looking for support with stakeholders as plastic recycling companies, informal waste collectors, sellers, food producers and policy makers in the State of São Paulo, Brazil.
Dr. Sandra Andrea Cruz
Professor Sandra Andrea Cruz is a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from Materials Engineering Department, UFSCAR, Brazil. Today, she is a full professor at the Chemical Department at The Federal University of São Carlos, Brazil, SP. As a polymer scientist, she researches recycling, modification and stabilization of polymeric materials. Her investigations are on the quality of recycled materials focusing on their modification and property enhancement. Polymer degradation, stabilization and modification are used to make them meet market applications such as packaging, health care and equipment.
Dr. Rafaela Gutierrez
Dr. Rafaela Gutierrez is a social scientist with expertise in waste policy. She has a keen interest in up- and downstream processes for plastic recycling. Over the past decade she has studied, advocated and worked with low-income communities in Brazil focusing on how to improve socio-productive integration into formal recycling streams. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and Co-founder of the UofT Trash Team working on developing innovative strategies to increase waste literacy. She is also a research collaborator at the Federal University of São Carlos investigating the social impacts of bio-based food packaging in different stakeholders, specially waste pickers. Dr. Rafaela Gutierrez has a PhD in Science and Technology Policy from the Institute of Geosciences, UNICAMP, Brazil.
Dr. Lais Roncalho de Lima
Dr. Lais Roncalho de Lima has a PhD in Materials Chemistry, specialized in Chemistry of Bio-Based Polymers, from the Institute of Chemistry – São Paulo State University – UNESP, Brazil. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Federal University of São Carlos – UFSCar, Brazil, in which she investigates the social impacts of bio-based food packaging in the supply chain of the São Paulo State. She seeks to use her scientific knowledge to understand, in practical means, what are the consequences that these bio-based materials have on society.
Dr. Maria Zanin
Professor Maria Zanin is PhD in Physics from the University of São Paulo (USP). She is currently a senior professor at the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) and at the Multidisciplinary and Integrated Center for Studies, Training and Intervention in Solidarity Economics at UFSCar. She has experience in the areas of Materials Engineering and Solidarity Economy, working mainly on the following topics: recycling of post-consumer plastics, urban waste management, social technologies and waste pickers’ cooperatives of recyclable materials