Is biodegradable plastic a good solution?
What exactly is biodegradable plastic? It’s a type of plastic that’s decomposed by microorganisms, including plastic made of natural materials. Biodegradable plastic is a popular alternative to existing plastic, which is difficult to decompose and causes pollution to the environment. Through news articles and seminars, biodegradable plastic has grabbed the public’s attention. However, is this truly the answer to our current environmental pollution problems?
Various types of biodegradable plastic differ depending on the decomposing composition. Some types have a positive effect on pollution, but not all are 100% perfect. One type uses energy from the sun’s ultraviolent rays to decompose, but fails in environments where there is no sunlight, and doesn’t decompose completely, leaving small pieces of plastic behind. Oxo-biodegradable plastic, which decomposes through oxidation from heat, also produces harmful plastic particles that do not breakdown completely. As a result, more research and development is required in order to use biodegradable plastic as a pollution solution.
On top of that, the market for biodegradable plastic makes up about 1% of the world’s plastic production, meaning its impact is currently very minimal. Once biodegradable plastic caught people’s attention, there was renewed hope for the environment’s future. However, after more than a decade, the biodegradable plastic market remains in its early stage. This is primarily due to the price. Biodegradable plastic costs more than 3 times that of regular plastic, preventing the biodegradable plastic market from expanding and becoming a true competitor. Other reasons are the lack of policy support to encourage production, and problems with how it’s used. For example, in 2005, South Korea’s government introduced a policy that promoted biodegradable garbage bags. Unfortunately, some bags naturally decomposed while in storage, causing decreased quality and easy tearing. Considering the current situation, experts predict that it will take a long time before biodegradable plastic is commercialized and has a positive impact on the environment.
Rather than relying on biodegradable plastic, it’s important for us to decrease our use of plastic if we want to fight pollution. Governments worldwide are more actively implementing plastic regulation policies. Together, companies and consumers should strive for more eco-friendly production and consumption in order to protect the environment. Raw Beauty Co. Arencia is leading the way in eco-friendly production and distribution with its solid beauty products and strategies for minimal plastic packaging. Kickoff your eco-friendly consumption by checking out Arencia’s “Raw Beauty, Made Bottless” solid skincare products! →