Depending on the type of material you use to make your bags, the material will either break down to a more environmentally friendly substance, or will not. In either case, you need to be careful about the way you use your bags, so that you are not endangering the environment.
Recycled plastics pose a threat to marine life
Among the most significant dangers to the marine environment is plastic waste. The amount of garbage that reaches the ocean each year is increasing. The plastics in the sea are causing a lot of harm to both marine and human life.
The plastic waste that reaches the sea can have an impact on the bio-geo cycle, the food chain and the shoreline. Plastics also contain toxic additives that can pollute oceanic waters and affect marine life.
The amount of plastic that reaches the oceans is estimated to be around 100 million tons a year. Approximately 1 million seabirds die each year due to plastic debris.
Seabirds often get entangled in plastic debris and die of suffocation. In addition, plastic is often mistaken for food by marine life. This can lead to a blockage in the gut or loss of nutrition.
Some plastics are not biodegradable. However, most types of plastic are extremely durable. They may remain in the sea for millennia.
Oxo-biodegradable bags release less harmful substances
Several scientific studies have been carried out to investigate the environmental effects of oxo-biodegradable bags plastics. The results have shown that these plastics fragment into microplastics and can be toxic to marine and flora life.
While these plastics do not fully biodegrade, they degrade over a long period of time. They are an alternative to traditional plastics, but are not as environmentally friendly as they claim. They may not degrade in deep landfills and may release more environmental pollution.
Despite the research, some countries such as Saudi Arabia have already banned oxo-biodegradable packaging. Other countries such as Germany and Sweden are considering making them mandatory.
These products are made from traditional plastics, but are treated with an additive which imitates biodegradation. However, this additive can be contaminated by other plastic types. Those who manufacture oxo-biodegradables must comply with strict standards to ensure that their products do not release harmful substances into the environment.
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are produced from traditional plastics, but with metal ions added to the material. These metal ions enhance photo degradation of plastics. These additives also increase the rate at which the polymer stabilisers break down. This increases the useful service life of the plastic.
Compostable bags are lazy environmentalists' dream
Using a compostable bags is not the only way to go about recycling. The most eco-friendly form of trash disposal is to cut back on waste. Aside from throwing out less stuff, you'll also be able to keep the planet green by ensuring that your waste goes to a sustainable disposal facility.
In a capitalist society, people tend to toss out single use items without thinking twice. It's no wonder that plastic bags are finding their way into our oceans. While they're good at containing waste, they're bad at being recycled. For instance, a compostable bag is great for containing food scraps in communities with a three bin recycling program, but they aren't a good fit for landfills.
If you're considering composting your waste, make sure you find out whether your local compost facility accepts compostable bags. Some of them are made from a biomaterial that won't break down in the right conditions.
Biodegradable bags aren't as simple as you think
Unlike traditional plastic trash bags, biodegradable trash bags aren't necessarily good for the environment. While they are designed to break down faster, these bags can contaminate perfectly sorted recyclables and can even cause pollution.
The term "biodegradable" is a marketing term. Several companies use it to make unproven claims about their products. The term is also banned in some states, including California.
In fact, the Federal Trade Commission has recently issued strict guidelines for biodegradable products. They are available in the "Truth in Advertising" section of the FTC Green Guides. Essentially, biodegradable means that an item will break down within one year. This means that items labeled biodegradable will not necessarily break down in a composting facility. In fact, many items labeled "biodegradable" will end up in an incinerator.
In order to be classified as biodegradable, an item must break down into elements naturally occurring in nature within a year. For example, corn starch, which is used to make biodegradable plastic bags, is not considered biodegradable because it cannot be broken down by anaerobic digestion.