You might already know that a lot of our plastics come from petroleum. In fact, manufacturing takes up almost 3% of our total petroleum consumption. But did you know there’s a way to make almost all of these products without using fossil fuels? We can actually take the oil out of crops like soybeans and use it to make consumer products.
Biobased manufacturing is a small but growing sector. Government standards require federal agencies to purchase certain biobased products, when reasonably priced and available, under the BioPreferred program. Major companies like Coca Cola, Ford and John Deere are making an effort to use sustainable materials for plant-based plastic bottles, soy foam and soy lubricant.
We sat down with John Motter, a farmer and proponent of biobased products, to learn more about this green innovation. As the Director of the United Soybean Board, he helps promote soybeans and make them more profitable for growers.
Individual farmers can’t afford R&D or communications teams, he said, but when farmers join together and pool resources, they can reach out around the globe to create demand and sell their products.