How are BiOBUDDi Blocks CO2 Neutral?
We’ve mentioned before that our BiOBUDDi building blocks are CO2 neutral, in addition to being bio-based and made from sustainable sugarcane…but the idea of “CO2 neutrality” can be difficult to wrap your head around. So, we thought we’d offer up this blog post to explain just what this means for BiOBUDDi and you.
What does CO2 Mean?
CO2, also known as carbon dioxide (or just “carbon” for short), is what is known as a “greenhouse gas”. When too much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, it causes the temperature of the Earth to heat up.
Human activities have vastly increased the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, and there is a strong consensus among scientists that this human activity is heating up the planet at an alarming rate. Between the mid-1700s, right around the time of the Industrial Revolution, up to the present day, there has been a 45% increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
How Have Humans Increased the CO2 in the Atomsphere?
What type of activities release carbon dioxide? One of the main culprits is the burning of fossil fuels. Humans burn A LOT of fossil fuels, for everything from power plants to gasoline for cars. And all that adds up to a lot of CO2 going into the atmosphere.
In addition to that, humans chop down a lot of trees and clear a lot of plants for many reasons, such as to make room for grazing fields for cows and other livestock, or to build and develop areas for housing and industry, or to make roads and highways to connect people. The problem here is that plants are one of the best ways to keep CO2 near the ground, and not in the atmosphere.
During a process known as photosynthesis, plants absorb CO2 and light and to create carbohydrates for energy, and release oxygen, which humans breathe. When plants are cleared, they are unable to absorb that carbon dioxide, which is left to rise into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.
So, the bottom line is that the more fossil fuels we burn and the more plants we clear, the more CO2 gets released.
What is CO2 Neutrality and How Do BiOBUDDi Plant-Based Blocks Fit In?
When something is considered “CO2 neutral” it means that the amount of CO2 a product or process releases into the atmosphere is equal to the amount it directly helps to keep in the Earth. By offsetting the carbon dioxide released, a CO2 neutral system does not cause further heating of the planet.
How does BiOBUDDi do this? Well, first we need to talk a bit about how BiOBUDDi is made. The blocks are actually made from sugarcane. However, the sugarcane used to make the building blocks does not solely get turned into BiOBUDDi – its chief purpose is to make food. But only about 50% of the plant gets made into food. The rest is considered “waste”…or it was, until things like biofuels and “Green PE” were created. Green PE is the substance that BiOBUDDi plant based blocks are made from.
Since BiOBUDDi Green PE comes from the same sugarcane used for food purposes, no new sugarcane needs to be planted in order to get the material for it – it uses what already exists. This means no more trees need to be cleared to make way for more sugarcane fields. While sugarcane does absorb carbon dioxide, large trees do it better.
The process of creating the raw material for BiOBUDDi actually puts approximately 5 kilograms (around 11 pounds) of CO2 back into the Earth for every 1 kg (2.2 pounds) of CO2 released into the atmosphere. Even when you factor in shipping and other processes involved in the manufacture of BiOBUDDi, it still saves around 4.6 kg (about 10 pounds) of CO2 for every 1 kg it releases.
So why is it still called “CO2 neutral” if it’s actually better than neutral? Well, this depends a lot on what is done with the building blocks after they have been produced. BiOBUDDi plant-based blocks are 100% recyclable, and can be recycled along with traditional, oil-based plastics. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone will recycle it, even though they should.
Some countries do not have robust recycling programs in place, and even countries that do often do not require that citizens recycle their plastic. When plastic isn’t recycled, it’s burned. If BiOBUDDi blocks are recycled as they are intended to be, they continue to exceed carbon neutrality by keeping more carbon dioxide in the Earth than gets released into the atmosphere. However, if BiOBUDDi blocks are burned, that extra 4.6 kg of CO2 saved is burned along with it. This is what brings it to a CO2 neutral status.
While it is still good to be carbon neutral, it is better to save more CO2 in the Earth. For this reason, we recommend that BiOBUDDi blocks be recycled when discarded whenever possible.
What Does the Future with BiOBUDDi Hold?
Currently, the best way to dispose of BiOBUDDi blocks is to recycle them. While these blocks are long lasting and durable and can be passed down from generation to generation, if you MUST get rid of them, recycling is the way to go.
But in the future, things could change for the better. Instead of being recycled into more plastic products, in the coming years Green PE will be able to be converted into biofuels, which can power machinery. Unlike fossil fuels like coal and gasoline, biofuels are renewable and will not run out as long as we have plants like sugarcane which can be used to make them.
How soon will this be able to happen? It really depends on how quickly countries will invest in adopting this technology on a wide scale. The more countries and governments that get behind the idea of CO2 neutrality and the importance of limiting greenhouse gases, the quicker these emerging technologies can become commonplace.
In the meantime, plant- based products are still a sustainable product made from a renewable resource that is 100% recyclable and entirely CO2 neutral. This makes it a great eco-friendly block choice for anyone who wants a toy for their children that will spark creativity and imagination, while also not having a harmful effect on the environment.