The days of just throwing an item in the bin are far behind us. Regardless of where you live in the UK your local council will provide you with some form of additional waste bin for recyclable items. Not only that, but most councils provide numerous bins or large refuse sacks for different types of rubbish that needs recycling. Plastic is one of these materials that everybody is expected to make an effort to recycle whenever possible.
There is a reason for this; it is essential to recycle plastic. Manufacturers of plastic are aware of this and make sure any products made from plastic is as recyclable as it can possibly be. Everyone is expected to do his or her bit to help the environment. The reason this is so important is plastic is not ideal for landfill. Not only does it make sense to recycle plastic, because it can be, but plastic takes a very longtime to degrade. This leads to landfill sites becoming bloated and can become dangerous to animals, fish and the eco system on the whole. Plastic is made to last, be durable and versatile. This is excellent news for those wishing to use it or products but bad news when it comes to disposing of it.
Plastic makes up for nearly 15% of waste generated by humans and piled into backfill sites. Polythene bags are sadly one of the main culprits of this. These plastic bags are usually given out at super markets and are very handy for taking a group of items from A to B. Most people have a stash of polythene shopping bags under their sinks, under their stairs or crammed into a draw because you never know when they will come in handy. They don’t last forever though and sooner or later the bag will split and need to be replaced, resulting it the previous bad needing to be disposed off. Where plastic bags can and should be recycled sometimes this is not possible. The bag may be too damaged for any aspect of it to be repurposed and throwing it away may be the only option.
Is a Solution to Non Recyclable Plastic on the way?
This poses a problem for environmentalists but a solution may finally be at hand. New biodegradable plastic is technology is when the plastic is specially formulated to break down or gradually rot away once exposed to the elements. This type of plastic uses specially formulated enzymes to create a chemical reaction that degrades the plastic more quickly than regular plastic. This means less time filling up landfill sites and that if required a biodegradable bag can be disposed of as non-recyclable waste without a long-term negative impact on the environment. The term biodegradable itself means the item beings described is subject to bacteria and can be eaten away until its nothing. For example discarded food is also considered biodegradable. The way that food is broken down by bacteria over time, and is therefore safe to be disposed of traditionally is what gave scientists the idea to replicate this technology for substances like plastic.
How long does Biodegradable Plastic take to Degrade?
Biodegradable plastic takes only a matter of months to completely degrade. This is an incredible achievement considering most non-biodegradable plastic can take nearly 100 years before it has degraded into nothing. A solution was essential as even if a standard polythene bag could be recycled that doesn’t mean everyone does. Not everyone is as environmentally conscious as others. Although we are living in a much more environmentally aware age, individuals and companies are now actively striving for new ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Not only is this wonderful news for the environment but also it’s great for businesses. Companies want to be perceived as friendly and kind on the environment so cultivating an eco-friendly image is something lots of companies are keen to do. Using a manufacturer of biodegradable plastic instead of a manufacturer that isn’t may be a very effective way to help create this. Organisations are now judged by the public and the press on their carbon footprint, and subject to new laws that encourage them to be. There has never been a better time to invest in biodegradable plastic items, in whatever form this investment takes.
What are the Benefits of using Biodegradable Plastic?
As industry in the western world gets hungrier it’s becoming more important than ever to attempt to conserve our petroleum supplies. Older more traditional plastic comes from heating and changing oil stocks until then are changed into polymers. Until the advent of biodegradable plastic this was using up a lot of petroleum at an increasingly alarming rate. Bio plastics however are primarily created from natural resources, mostly corn crops among others. Where it’s important to point out that a lot of biodegradable plastic is made from this and traditional plastic, the more natural sources used instead of oil is still better for the environment overall. It’s reasonable to assume that should this technology continue to improve, and then eventually we will be able to create these materials with no reliance on petroleum whatsoever.
Creating biodegradable plastic creates a near 70% reduction in greenhouse gases during its manufacturing process. The benefits to the environment, more specifically the o-zone layer due to this are enormous. Burning less oil creating polymers also represents a significant reduction in energy costs. Burning polymers can be hazardous to humans and animals also. They give off potentially toxic emissions that can seep into water supplies, damage eco systems and increase levels of pollutions. Biodegradable plastic does none of this, it is completely toxin free and when breaking down into the earth leaves no chemical trace of what it once was. Finally biodegradable plastic takes advantage of developing bacteria. Bacteria is ever changing developing new ways to feed and survive, their ability to feed on plastic is something scientists have widely reported on. Creating new ways to encourage this through biodegradable plastic will help these bacteria speed up their methods, benefiting all involved, but mostly the environment. For more info on our Compostable/biodegradable sacks click here.