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Need to Know About Degradable Plastics (Down)

Feb. 04, 2020

Words such as "degradable" and "biomaterials" are easily misunderstood by the public, thinking that these plastics can be easily decomposed in nature and become part of nature like straw and leaves. Therefore, California issued a decree in 2008 to ban businesses from using the name “degradable plastic” for promotion.

Biodegradable plastics may not be recyclable. In addition, some degradable plastics mixed with other recyclable plastics will reduce the quality of recycled materials. (Separate classification and recycling of plastics of the same material can obtain better quality recycled materials. The performance of mixed recycled plastics may be unstable.)

The United States of America's North Carolina and Alabama proposed a bill in 2013 that requires plastic products that are degradable, biodegradable, or compostable to be labeled as "non-recyclable" to avoid mixing into other recyclable plastic products.

Correct recognition, detailed identification and reasonable promotion;

 Biodegradable T-shirt bag supplier thinks this is still a direction to solve the plastic problem.

However, both policy makers and the public should have a correct understanding of "degradable plastics" and understand the limitations of these products. They cannot be used arbitrarily just because the products are labeled as "degradable".

The various types of "degradable materials" should also be more clearly identified. At present, "degradable plastics" on the market contain a variety of materials and degradation conditions, and the reasonable destination after use will be different. If they are all marked as "degradable", it will inevitably cause trouble to subsequent processing. For example, if it can be degraded only under composting conditions, should it be marked as "industrial compostable plastic" instead of "degradable plastic". Including what kind of raw materials are used and whether they can be recycled, they should be clearly marked so that they can be reasonably classified and disposed of at the end.

Fully biodegradable plastics should choose better applications. In my opinion, plastic wrap, kitchen waste bags and agricultural mulch are the reasonable applications of bio-based degradable plastics. The first two are the most likely to enter industrial compost plants, and agricultural mulch can be slowly degraded directly in the soil after use. At the same time, all three products have the problem of being difficult to sort and recycle, which can be solved by using degradable plastics. In addition, some people in the industry believe that medical appliances are also a suitable application field for degradable plastics.

Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable Plastics

Agricultural mulch:

Most importantly, "degradable" is not an excuse for excessive consumption. The production and disposal of any raw material consumes more or less resources and energy, causing an environmental burden. Even fully degradable materials should not be consumed excessively. Reducing disposable items and avoiding unnecessary packaging can solve many problems under the existing technical conditions.

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