Compostable Plastic Is Worse
BeaIn recent years, there has been a growing trend towards the use of compostable plastics as a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastics. While compostable plastics may seem like a more eco-friendly option, there are several reasons why they are actually worse for the environment and human health than even regular plastics. This article will explore these reasons in depth, highlighting the issues of toxicity, endocrine disruptors, greenwashing, contaminated recycling, and the findings of the University of Pittsburgh study.
Toxicity is a major issue when it comes to compostable plastics. These plastics are often made from polylactic acid (PLA), which is derived from corn or other plant sources. While PLA is biodegradable, it still contains chemicals that can be harmful to human health and the environment. For example, the production of PLA requires the use of toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and sulfuric acid, which can be released into the environment during production and can pose a risk to human health.
In addition to toxicity, compostable plastics are also known to contain endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that can interfere with the body's hormonal system. This is particularly concerning because endocrine disruptors have been linked to a variety of health problems, including cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive issues. In a study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), it was found that PLA-based compostable plastics contained a variety of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates.
@taborplace Compostable plastic is actually WORSE than regular plastic - both for the environment and for your body ! #DanceWithTurboTax #plantplastic #compostable #compostableplastic #endocrinedisruptors #endocrinedisruptingchemicals #compostingtiktok #pfas #pfasinwater #toxicchemicals #greenwashing ♬ original sound - Beatrice, CEO of Tabor Place
Greenwashing is another issue when it comes to compostable plastics. Greenwashing is the practice of making false or misleading claims about the environmental benefits of a product. Many companies that produce compostable plastics market their products as "eco-friendly" or "biodegradable," which can lead consumers to believe that these products are better for the environment than they actually are. In reality, compostable plastics are not always as environmentally friendly as they are advertised to be. For example, compostable plastics require specific conditions to break down properly, such as high temperatures and humidity, which may not be available in certain environments. If these conditions are not met, the plastics may not biodegrade at all, and may end up in landfills or the natural environment, where they can cause harm to wildlife and ecosystems.
Contamination of recycling streams is another issue associated with compostable plastics. Many people assume that compostable plastics can be recycled along with traditional plastics, but this is not always the case. In fact, compostable plastics can contaminate recycling streams, making it more difficult to recycle traditional plastics. According to a report by the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, compostable plastics can clog recycling equipment and cause damage to sorting machines, leading to increased costs and decreased efficiency in the recycling process.
In 2020, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study to determine the environmental impact of compostable plastics. The study found that, while compostable plastics may break down more quickly than traditional plastics, they can actually be worse for the environment in the long run. This is because the production of compostable plastics requires more energy and resources than traditional plastics, and the end products of compostable plastics are often not composted properly. In fact, the study found that compostable plastics can release methane and other greenhouse gases when they break down, contributing to climate change.
In conclusion, while compostable plastics may seem like a more sustainable option than traditional plastics, they are actually worse for the environment and human health. The issues of toxicity, endocrine disruptors, greenwashing, contaminated recycling, and the findings of the University of Pittsburgh study all demonstrate that compostable plastics are not a viable solution to our plastic waste problem. Instead, we need to focus on reducing our overall use of plastics, recycling traditional plastics properly, and exploring alternative materials
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