Conventional Plastic has been with us for a greater part of last century. For quite a while we know how bad it is for our environment. Conventional plastics take thousands of year to degrade. Then we got introduced to the saviour “Biodegradable Plastic”. But after some time researchers are figuring out that they actually don’t work.
What Is Biodegradation?
Biodegradation is a natural process by which microorganisms break down any compounds. Microorganisms can not degrade plastic. Therefore it takes an awful amount of time to degrade. On average humans make 270 million ton plastic every year. It is a lot of undegradable matter. So some companies started to make biodegradable plastics.
These biodegradable plastics are made with same compounds and treated with additives that allow it to degrade faster. Sounds great right? well not that fast.
Researchers did experiments with both conventional plastics and biodegradable ones. They put them in same conditions and left them to degrade for a couple of years and what they found out is really shocking.
You see when microorganisms break down compounds they release gases like carbon and methane. After the test, they found the amount of gas released by the plastics is the same. When they looked closely with microscopes they didn’t saw any signs of degradation. In short, they don’t work.
Strangely this experiment was funded by the companies which use biodegradable plastics in order to find if it actually works or not. Clearly, they have the answer now.
Also published on Medium.