Biodegradable Plastic Challenge

March 3, 2017

Many of us may wonder why biodegradable plastic is not widely used, despite its presumed ability to decompose in a shorter amount of time than conventional plastic items.

Apart from the higher price for production (2-10x`s more expensive), biodegradable plastic do not meet as many environmental performance expectations than anticipated.

Here are just a few examples:

  1. Contaminate conventional recycling streams; negative impact on recycled material quality

  2. Does not degrade in ocean

  3. "Biodegradable" perception encourages littering

  4. Thicker to achieve same performance as conventional plastic. For example, the minimum required thickness for a biodegradable produce bag is 16 microns; Conventional produce bags generally need to be only 7 microns thick

  5. Tends to degrade slowly


Maybe not so environmental friendly after all, for now.



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UWCC aims to promote a campus-wide composting service at UW from diverting organics from the regional landfill, as well as raising awareness of zero-waste practices.

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