Biodegradable Plastics Are Not the Answer to Reducing Marine Litter, Says UN

Posted In News, Pollution
Nov
23

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“The unprecedented plastic waste tide plaguing our oceans and shores, can become as limited as our chosen relationship with plastics, which involves a dramatic behavioral change on our part…”
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

Widespread adoption of products labelled ‘biodegradable’ will not significantly decrease the volume of plastic entering the ocean or the physical and chemical risks that plastics pose to marine environment, concluded a UN report released today.

The report, “Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments”, finds that complete biodegradation of plastics occurs in conditions that are rarely, if ever, met in marine environments, with some polymers requiring industrial composters and prolonged temperatures of above 50°C to disintegrate. There is also limited evidence suggesting that labelling products as ‘biodegradable’ increases the public’s inclination to litter…

Read Full Article, UN News Center

Biodegradable Plastics Are as Persistent as Regular Plastics, Study Finds, Yale E360 (03-19-2015)
Plastics designed to degrade don’t break down any faster than their conventional counterparts, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology…

Here’s How Much Plastic Ends Up In the World’s Oceans,The Time (02-13-2015)
Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans, it’s equivalent to five grocery bags filled with plastic for every foot of coastline…

Plastic pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
For more than 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years. In 2008, our global plastic consumption worldwide has been estimated at 260 million tons, and, according to a 2012 report by Global Industry Analysts, plastic consumption is to reach 297.5 million tons by the end of 2015.
Plastic is versatile, lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant, strong, and relatively inexpensive. Those are the attractive qualities that lead us, around the world, to such a voracious appetite and over-consumption of plastic goods. However, durable and very slow to degrade, plastic materials that are used in the production of so many products all, ultimately, become waste with staying power. Our tremendous attraction to plastic, coupled with an undeniable behavioral propensity of increasingly over-consuming, discarding, littering and thus polluting, has become a combination of lethal nature… — © SAF — Coastal Care

A Sustainable Approach to Preventing Ocean Plastic Pollution, Algalita Foundation / Huffington Green (06-10-2015)
Although we know sustainable change begins with education, we’re well aware that major solutions are being achieved through attacking the problem at its source…

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