Spring downpours did not stop the Columbus community from making a big turnout at the COSI Big Science Celebration. On Saturday, May 4th, we conducted our Ohio Soy Sustainable Summer activities with community members and provided an interactive introduction to sustainability, the soybean industry, and the emerging bioeconomy. The COSI Big Science Celebration was the perfect setting to introduce the public to biobased and soy-based products.
While speaking with consumers, we had the unique opportunity to have a conversation about plastics and where they come from. Attendees of the event came with a wide variety of background knowledge on the subject, but were typically surprised about the origins of plastic. The introduction of petroleum-based plastics allowed for us to add emphasis to the beneficial qualities of soy-based alternatives.
Although we may not realize it, some of us are already familiar with these alternatives. The Coca-Cola Company is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and is also the largest purchaser of bioplastics in the world. These bioplastics are utilized in their Dasani water bottles. The labeling indicates that the particular bottle is known as a “plant bottle” that is produced with up to 30% plant-based polyethylene. Through our conversations, we realized that many consumers believed that the green leaf logo was more so for decoration than for the purpose of identifying a sustainable plastic. We used this as an opportunity to introduce them to additional labels, such as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Certified Biobased label that can be found on many household products.
Conversations such as these foster thought about other ways in which individuals can contribute to sustainability and the bioeconomy through their daily choices. After this event, we are hopeful that the consumers we connected with will continue their interest in biobased products.
This article was written by Haley Wilson, OBIC Student Assistant and Senior at The Ohio State University.