Why biodegradables won’t solve the plastic crisis

Posted In News, Pollution
Nov
6


White stripes of decomposed styrofoam on the beach.
Captions and Photo: © SAF — Coastal Care

Excerpts;

“Green” alternatives to throwaway plastics don’t always break down in sea water. But could they help to fix our food waste problem?

Of the 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic we’ve thrown away since we started mass-producing it in the 1950s, just 600 million tonnes has been recycled – and 4.9 billion tonnes has been sent to landfill or left in the natural environment…

Read Full Article; BBC News (11-05-2019)

Biodegradable plastic ‘false solution’ for ocean waste problem; Guardian UK (05-23-2016)

Biodegradable Plastics Are Not the Answer to Reducing Marine Litter, Says UN; UN News Center (11-23-2015)
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…

Degrading plastics revealed as source of greenhouse gases; Science Daily (08-01-2018)
Researchers have found that several greenhouse gases are emitted as common plastics degrade in the environment. Their study reports the unexpected discovery of the universal production of greenhouse gases methane and ethylene by the most common plastics when exposed to sunlight…

More than 8. 3 billion tons of plastics made: Most has now been discarded; Science Daily (07-19-2017)
Humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics since large-scale production of the synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, and most of it now resides in landfills or the natural environment, according to a study.

Plastic pollution: When The Mermaids Cry: The Great Plastic Tide, Coastal Care
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…

Scientists Say They Have Found a Viable Replacement for Petroleum-Based Plastic; Yale E360 (04-11-2019)

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