In 2007, Braskem, a $15.4 billion petrochemical firm (controlled by Petrobras and Odebrecht) announced that it had grasped a holy grail: green plastic, in the form of polyethylene made from sugarcane ethanol rather than fossil fuel. The process has environmental advantages: Because the cane crop captures CO2, and its biomass powers Braskem’s plant, it actually mitigates emissions. Braskem claims its annual output of 200,000 kilotons of green plastic results in an 850,000 kiloton reduction in CO2. The bioplastic, while still a small part of its business, is now used by 150 eco-minded brands including Danone (for milk bottles), Grupo Bimbo (for Nutella bread bags), and Lego (for toys).
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