Biodegradable plastic is a material that decomposes when exposed to the environment. This happens because of microorganisms present in the environment disintegrate the natural structures that forms the “biodegradable plastic.” It is an eco-friendly version of conventional plastic. There are various pros and cons of using biodegradable plastics in your daily life.
Advantages of Biodegradable plastics
Breaks down into non toxic material
Reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions
The manufacturing process for biodegradable plastics emits less greenhouse gas and doesn’t require CO2 gas. When it breaks down, it won’t release additional CO2 into the environment like its non-biodegradable counter part.
During decomposition, bacteria present inside the soil starts to consume its components, leaving us with less waste. This also reduces physical pollution in nature.
Devoid of harmful products
Plastics makes life a lot easier. They can even contain risky and toxic products like Bisphenol A and Phthalates that are harmful for humans. Biodegradable plastic eliminate the need of these substances.
Biodegradable plastics consume less energy to produce. This is because, you don’t need to perform processes of locating, accessing, as well as transporting hydrocarbons for their creation.
You can burn less fossil fuels in the manufacturing process. This way, it releases fewer contaminants when they reach their end stage. This reduces the cost of cleaning up the pollution too. Due to energy savings, biodegradable plastics prove to be an affordable solution for long term use.
Biodegradable Plastic Uses Natural Resources
Where conventional plastic is derived from heating and treating oil molecules, biodegradable plastics are obtained from corn or switchgrass. These aren’t finite resources, unlike the petroleum used to manufacture normal plastics.
Positive Marketing Efforts
Biodegradable plastics are completely safe. Organizations that choose these type of products are seen to be concerned about the environment. Due to this, they are preferred over others that use traditional forms of plastic.
Shareholder, employees, and executives can reap the benefits of positive perception if they market themselves correctly.
Disadvantages of Biodegradable plastics
Harmful to nature
All Plastics can be very injurious to the nature. They contaminate drinking water sources and oceans. A few brands of such type of biodegradable plastic even release high amounts of cobalt and lead, that resulted in increasing the level of toxicity in the environment post the decomposition process.
Follows a specific procedure for its disposal
The advantage of biodegradable plastics only reduces pollution and waste when you dispose of it the proper way. When disposing of biodegradable plastics, you need to be mindful of waste-reduction initiatives and recycling programs to see the benefit.
Need the right type of weather for disposal
Biodegradable plastics are highly dependent on weather conditions. Humidity and temperature play a very important role throughout the process. The speed of composting reduces when the weather becomes cold. High humidity brings the process to a full stop. The disposal of these plastics in far-northern climates and equatorial regions is hard.
Exposes you to pesticides and herbicides
Though, natural products are used for the creation of biodegradable plastics, it doesn’t eliminate the exposure to chemicals via the manufacturing process. Pesticides and herbicides aren’t tracked by the industry. There isn’t any way to learn about the exposure levels at the time of encountering such natural products. The organic crops sent to this industry can easily be sprayed with compounds that can cause health issues due to increased exposure.
Limits the extent of recycling
To create biodegradable plastics, we mix biodegradable molecules with oil-based molecules to lower our dependency on petroleum. This creates a disadvantage for our existing technologies which don’t allow us to recycle hybrid items. At the end of their life cycle, biodegradable plastics are often disposed of in landfills.
High capital cost
Manufacturing biodegradable plastics is 50% more expensive than conventional plastics. The main reason for this is the research and development put into creating these new materials. As time passes and demand grow, the cost of biodegradable plastics should come down.