One Green Planet: This is Awkward … Biodegradable Plastic is Making Us Produce MORE Trash. Here’s What to Do Instead – 12/7/15

One Green Planet

December 7, 2015

Doesn’t the “biodegradable” label make you exude a sigh of relief?  You can now purchase whichever item you’ve been perusing with a clear conscience and secure sense of pride. As reports surface about our plastic trash’s effect on the planet, many people are turning towardsbiodegradable plastics instead. The massive environmental hazard our collective plastic waste poses when it ends up in our landfills and oceans is no secret. One little word on the side of a plastic item or piece of packaging makes consumers feel safe in the belief that they aren’t contributing to the gargantuan amounts of plastic floating in our seas which carry serious risks for marine environments.

Unfortunately, new research reveals that this is yet again a harmful instance of “greenwashing,” i.e. the process of marketing something as eco-friendly when it really isn’t. You see, plastic does not biodegrade as one might imagine. Rather than completely dissipating or breaking down, plastic simply breaks into smaller and smaller pieces through the process of photodegradation (exposure to sunlight). As such, the term biodegradable doesn’t really cover what happens to plastic products as they never turn into organic compounds that can go back into the natural environment. Research has also suggested that “technological solutions” appeal to consumers because they remove personal responsibility and thus the need for behavior change. In this sense, the “biodegradable” label on plastic items may actually encourage consumers to buy more plastic and pay less heed to proper disposal. READ MORE…

Share on Facebook25Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0