Biodegradable plastics are the ‘enemy of the environment,’ says UN scientist

  • To combat the massive problem of plastic debris in the world’s oceans, manufacturers developed lightweight plastic products
  • These plastic products are supposed to break down rapidly, thus reducing hazards to marine animals.
  • According to U top environmental scientist, these biodegradable plastics were not behaving as promised, instead they contribute to the problem of ocean plastic just as much as other variants.

Background

  • Previous studies have shown that biodegradable plastic products do not break down more rapidly in landfills.
  • UN report issued this week says the supposedly eco-friendly plastics don’t deteriorate rapidly in the ocean, either.
  • The only environment in which they do dissolve according to manufacturer’s claims is in industrial digesters.
  • That doesn’t exactly address the problem for the 32 percent of the world’s plastic that end up somewhere other than waste management facilities.
  • A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50C (122F).
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