They’re a “green alternative” buzzword, but are they green?
This broad category refers to any plastics made from plants or other materials instead of petroleum. So, on one hand we are seeing bioplastics made from corn using fertilizers and taking resources away from food production to make PLAs for food packaging and plastic bags, when instead we should be refusing all single-use plastics. Because like their petroleum-based counterparts, these bioplastics will likely end up in a landfill where, when not exposed to the intense heat of industrial composting, they will not degrade and will instead pose the same risks to birds and marine life as the plastics already polluting our ocean.
🌏On the other hand, findings published in this month’s issue of Bioresource Technology detail “a process to make bioplastic polymers that don’t require land or fresh water—resources that are scare in much of the world. The [PHA] polymer is derived from microorganisms that feed on seaweed. It is biodegradable, produces zero toxic waste and recycles into organic waste.” (Phys.org press release). For packaging other than single-use plastics (which, again, we should all be refusing), this new bioplastic could potentially mean less plastic pollution from other items more difficult to avoid.
🌍You can help fight plastic pollution most by choosing vegan, refusing all single-use plastics no matter their “green” labels, reducing use of all other plastics and demanding alternatives, most especially for resource-exploited regions with little-to-no waste management by no fault of the local peoples. Buy less. Choose well.
Yesterday morning’s beach area cleanup.
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