6.3 billion tonnes of Plastic have been produced since the 1950’s.
What are Biodegradable Plastics?- these are usually normal plastics that have additives, which cause them to decompose more quickly with Oxygen, light, water, and heat. However, they can (not always) break down to micro-plastics and leave toxic resins in the soil.
Only 9% of all Plastic produced has been recycled
We eat on average 114 pieces of plastic with every meal from household dust. That can equate to between 13,700 -68,400 plastic fibres eaten in a year. Ingesting plastic can damage lungs, kidneys and interfere with hormones.
40% of all plastic produced is used in packaging, half of which is used for food and drinks. How can we justify using packaging that lasts for generations to wrap our fresh food that lasts a few days?
What are microplastics? Microplastics are pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm in length that have come from the degradation of larger plastic material or the now banned microbeads, which are still used in toiletries in some parts of the world, as the ban only covered the EU. These small pieces of plastic are often eaten by animals and fish, making their way up the food chain to humans. We humans also directly ingest plastic, for example, a recent study found 93% of the water in plastic bottles contained microplastic.
Ingesting plastic can damage lungs, kidneys and interfere with hormones.
Bioplastics V Biodegradable plastics.
Biodegradable plastics can decompose to produce methane gas, that contributes to global warming. They can also breakdown into microplastics or toxic resins. Just because we can’t see them, doesn’t mean that they aren’t still there!
Bioplastics are made from plants and these tend to be compostable (see below). However, the plants must be grown, using up valuable resources in the soil, and potentially creating intensified farming with harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Bioplastic crops can prevent a food crop being grown, which in turn leads to higher food prices, to the detriment of poor families.
Castor Oil based plastic is normal plastic that has been made from castor oil instead of petroleum. There are arguments to suggest that using a renewable resource makes this plastic better for the environment. However, you have the same issues with intensive agriculture that you have with bioplastics but without the compostability factor.
Compostable means something that turns almost entirely into benign waste after a matter of months in a composter.