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Let's PLAy project - Bioproduction of PLA

Integrated HP

For Human Practices, we started with investigation on issues related to plastic and bioplastic consumption by two approaches: a public survey and a report on plastic legislation. This investigation made emerge questions and necessities, which led us to perform a practical part to cover them, consisting on a MOOC. We also did a degradation experiment given some controversies. They also made us rethink about our project and give further insights, on the scaling perspective, taking them into account.

Initial investigation

By getting involved on the PLA idea, we got to know more about bioplastics and we felt more involved on the plastic waste problem. We aimed to discover how much other people knew about the topic and we conducted a survey.

Besides, we noted that globally, public policies tend to gradually ban plastic consumptions. We wondered bioplastic industry could be affected by restrictive legislations directed at petroleum-based plastics.

On the need of public awareness

After conducting a survey on our project, it appeared that people would prefer resorting to bioplastics in their daily life rather than petroleum-based equivalents. Yet the consumption of bioplastics remains lower. Therefore, we decided to focus on solutions to tackle this paradox.

We first noted that people don’t know much about PLA, and even less about synthetic biology. Thus, the first step required is to carry out a pedagogic communicative approach to arise interest on synthetic biology, and then on PLA. That is why we decided to focus on MOOCs as an effective tool to spread knowledge on this topic.

Controversy around biodegradation

While reading about PLA, we noticed there was diversity of opinions on its biodegradability. We decided to take an skeptical point of view and we performed a little experiment to empirically observe what happens in daily conditions.

Project insights

We carried out our PLA system development and its experiments before and during the human practices procedure, which made it difficult to apply on the wet-lab investigated issues. However, we stopped to think about how could we help on bioplastic society impact.

High prices of PLA products compared with petroleum-based equivalents hinders the consumption of this bioplastic. As those prices are related with low yields of PLA production, we decided to work on efficient ways of production through conceiving a DIY efficient bioreactor.

Acknowledgements for Human Practices

During the investigation on human practices, we counted on the collaboration and help of several people and associations, mentioned below:


  • Marie Beigelman, student at ENSAE, French National School for Statistics and Administration – Advices on methodology for the survey.
  • Nicolas Mandroux, student at ENS Cachan – Proofreading on the survey.
  • Amélie Touzeau Duquesne student at Mines School – Proofreading on the survey.

MOOCs Experimentation

  • Laurent Martorell & Céline Barreto, teachers at Langevin-Wallon High School in Champigny sur Marne and their students – MOOC Experimentation.
  • Students from the Master in Systems & Synthetic biology from the University of Paris Saclay, campus of Evry – MOOC Experimentation.
  • Maison des Initiatives étudiantes, Paris – Technical and Adminstrative assistance for the preparation of the video.
  • Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Professor of French and Philosophy at Columbia
Former Professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University, Dakar – Questions on MOOCs, especially in Africa.
  • JerryClan Sénégal – Presentation of their do-it yourself computer and its implementation in Senegal.
  • A former student in Senegal who helped us to better understand ICT issues in Senegal.

Impacts on Banning PLA

  • BioFutura on economic impact of French legislation for bioplastic stakeholders.
  • Olivier Kerfant from Artaxerkes Sarl – Point of view on African and European Bioplastic Markets in relation with past and upcoming legislations.
  • Ms Sandra Guillomot, Head of Cabinet of Célia Blauel, deputy Mayor for sustainable development at Paris City council.