Are Biodegradable Plastics Harming the Environment?

Photo Credit: MatterNetwork.com

Because I like playing Devil’s Advocate, I couldn’t resist sharing this article about how biodegradable plastics can harm the environment.

In a nutshell, a new analysis shows that biodegradable plastics, especially those that break down quickly, produce methane. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that goes into the atmosphere and helps trap the sun’s heat, raising the overall global temperature.

Although some landfills have come up with systems to capture and use this methane, most don’t have that technology.

I know, I know. It seems like you just can’t win, right? Regular plastic pollutes the ocean, kills animals, and can contain toxic chemicals. Biodegradable plastics can produce methane and contribute to global warming. If you find yourself in a situation where you need a disposable drink container, what do you do?

I’d go for the biodegradable plastics anyway, but pick carefully and send them to the appropriate facility. Remember that some bioplastics need to be composted, not recycled. In an ideal world, there will be a symbol on the label to tell you what to do.

Let us know what you think!

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