Biodegradable plastic made from materials ranging from bacteria to orange peels has been touted as a solution to the global plastic-waste problem and a way to lessen our impact on the environment. However, a closer examination reveals that biodegradable plastic may not live up to its eco-friendly image. Biodegradable plastic was once a classic greenwashing scheme that often tricked consumers into purchasing products that were not, in fact, biodegradable.
Greener plastics that breakdown in the environment have been marketed as a sustainable alternative that could reduce the vast amount of plastic waste that ends up in the sea after being dumped.
But Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme, told the Guardian that these biodegradable plastics were not a simple solution. A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50C and that is not the ocean.
Speaking at the the UN environment assembly in Nairobi, where countries are meeting and expected to pass a resolution on microplastics later this week, she added: Even if you are remote, you are not safe from it. While the exact amount that reaches the oceans is not known, the report concluded: Read more Jellyfish, for example, are using plastic as a habitat and to hitch a ride, allowing them to extend their range.
The spread of jellyfish is considered bad news by experts because of the amount of plankton they eat, taking away food from fish and other marine life.
The main solution to plastics in the ocean is better waste collection and recycling, particularly in the developing world, the UN said.
But McGlade said that some of the biodegradable additives in plastic to allow it to break down made it harder to recycle, and potentially harmful in the natural environment. The UN report said that it was only in the past decade that plastics in the ocean had been taken seriously.Biodegradable plastic composed of bio plastic get manufacture by renewable sources.
There are two types of biodegradable plastic one is injection molded and other one is solid. The solid forms are use for items like bags, water bottles and food packaging. Biodegradable plastics is a double-digit growth industry coming into its own from increased regulations and bans against plastic bags and other single-use plastic items.
If you're in the habit of reading what supermarkets print on their plastic bags, you may have noticed a lot of environmentally friendly statements appearing over the last few years. Plastic litter washed up on Pembrey beach, Carmarthenshire, Wales, UK.
A UNEP report says plastic litter is spreading from Arctic to the Antarctic. Photograph: Paul Quayle/Alamy Biodegradable.
Contrary to what their name suggests, a comprehensive new UN report on marine plastics confirms that most biodegradable plastics don't break down in the ocean.
Biodegradable plastics: are they better for the environment? Litter is a problem with a very negative social and environmental impact. Some people believe that one way to tackle this problem is to use biodegradable plastics as an environmentally-friendly solution for things such as plastic bags.