Some biodegradable and compost bags keep products with ease, even after hiding in the ground or in the sea for three years, which raises the question of how these environmental alternatives bag really.
Due to their lightweight, strong and durable character, plastic bags have become a staple of everyday life, as they were first introduced in 1970-th year. Today, world production of plastic products more than 335 million tonnes (369 million tonnes), with about half of all plastics expelled after one use. Thus, the UN General Assembly called on Environment accumulation of plastic waste as a major global crisis in 2015 that led to the innovation of alternative materials like plastic. Today, the global plastic fight one at the forefront of international environmental policy.
But research begs the question: with & # 39 are biodegradable compost bags or option is actually all that much better?
To find out, researchers at the University of Plymouth took four different types of commonly used non-transparent bags used prevalence UK retailers. A total of 16 of these bags – made of biodegradable oxo-biodegradable and compostable materials of conventional high density polyethylene – or were buried in soil, immersed in sea water, left in the open air, or placed in a controlled laboratory within three years in order to determine how effectively they break.
After spending nine months in the open air, all the materials break down into fragments, but the overall results Var & # 39; Irawan on the material and the environment. Biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable plastic and ordinary stayed together well enough to use after the soil or marine environments for more than three years. In the same period, compost bags disappeared into the marine environment, after three months, but were present in the soil after more than two years.
"Three years later, I was really surprised that any of the bags can still keep buying the load. For biodegradable bag to be able to do it was the strangest thing, "said lead researcher Imogen Napper in a statement. "If you see something labeled in such a way, I think you automatically assume it will deteriorate faster than conventional bags. But after three years, at least, our research shows that it can not be so. "
In general, the researchers say their work suggests, even the foods we think of as environmentally friendly can do as much damage as conventional plastics.
"This study raises a number of questions about what the public can expect when they see something labeled as biodegradable. We demonstrate here that the materials tested have no consistent, reliable and relevant advantages in the context of marine debris, "said Richard Thompson, head of Litter International Marine Research Division in Plymouth. "It concerns me that these new materials as the existing problems in the field of recycling. Our study highlights the need to develop standards relating to biodegradable materials, clearly pointing to the appropriate path of utilization and the rate of degradation can be expected. "
Plastics have been found in almost every ecosystem on the planet, from the deepest depths of the ocean to the tops of some of the highest peaks of the Earth.
Taken together, the results indicate that "none of the bags can hope to show a significant deterioration over a period of 3 years in all environments," the authors write in the Environmental Science & Technology «It is not clear that the oxo -biodegradable or biodegradable formulations provide advanced enough the pace of deterioration to be beneficial in the context of reducing marine debris, as compared with conventional bags. "