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Is biodegradable better?

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Is biodegradable better?

While experts agree we should use less plastic in any form, some say as long as plastics are here to stay, we should be using degradable materials—and also pushing governments to help us dispose of them.Get more news about Biodegradable Packaging,you can vist our website!

But amid confusion about what is or isn't biodegradable, and in the absence of proper disposal facilities, some fear these "magical" solutions could lead to further environmental havoc and even encourage more wasteful consumption.

"People tend to believe they're contributing to the protection of the planet while buying these products, but it's not at all the case," Gaelle Haut, EU affairs coordinator at Surfrider Foundation Europe, told AFP.

Synthetic petrochemical plastics can linger in the environment for hundreds of years.

Biodegradable plastics generally break down quicker but they do need to be disposed of correctly, whether it's in an industrial compost facility or a home compost, Haut said.

But most people don't have access to such facilities, meaning biodegradable plastics generally end up in recycling centres or landfills—or worse, the environment.

'A lot of confusion'
From the United States to Europe to China, supermarket shelves are increasingly stocked with items packaged with "bioplastic" or "biodegradable", "compostable" or "sustainable" plastics.

Some companies even claim to have developed edible plastics.

Many governments don't regulate such claims, and most consumers don't know what they mean.

Bacardi says its biodegradable bottle for spirits will hit the shelves this year. Confectionery giant Mars-Wrigley has announced the roll-out of biodegradable Skittles packaging in the United States.

And late last year, California start-up Cove launched what it said was the world's first biodegradable plastic water bottle.Several companies have emerged in recent years to help certify biodegradability claims and help consumers make sense of the terminology.

"There is a lot of confusion on the market," said Philippe Dewolfs, business manager at TUEV Austria, one of the world's leading certifying agencies for biodegradable plastics, which is paid by companies to assess materials.

Counterintuitively, bio-based plastics are not necessarily compostable or biodegradable, he said.

These plastics contain at least some biomass feedstock like corn, potato starch, wood pulp or sugarcane—but may also contain fossil fuel-derived materials.

Conversely, biodegradable plastics may contain no biomass, but are designed to break down into CO2, water and biomass—usually in an industrial or home compost facility.

Compostable items can either break down in industrial or home compost. In some cases they may biodegrade in landfill, but it depends on moisture, microorganisms, and the composition of the product.

asked Mar 30 in holidays by freeamfva (24,460 points)  

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