Advantages and Disadvantages of Biodegradable Plastics

Biodegradable plastic bags are made from all-natural plant-based raw materials that enable the natural decomposition process which is achieved when the bacteria and fungi present in the surrounding environment naturally metabolizes the plastics and helps to further breakdown the structure of a biodegradable plastic.

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List of Advantages of Biodegradable Plastics

 

Reduction in Carbon Emission- One of the main advantages of using biodegradable polymers to make plastic bags is the significant reduction in the carbon emissions that happen during the manufacturing process as compared to that of regular plastic. As opposed to the normal manufacturing of plastics that create four tons of emissions, bioplastics only emit approximately .8 tons of carbon that add to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

 

Consumes Less Energy- The manufacturing process of biodegradable plastics requires less amount of energy and does not need fossil fuels to be recycled. Conversely, traditional plastics demand more energy in production and at the same time requires the burning of fossil fuel.

 

Eco-Friendly Disposable Solution- Biodegradable plastics require composting or recycling to ensure proper breakdown of the plastic pieces to enable the natural composting process. The requirement to properly dispose/process biodegradable plastic products automatically reduces the amount of waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

 

Recyclable- Apart from taking less time to break down when discarded, biodegradable plastics can also be recycled and are non-toxic since they contain no chemicals or toxins compared to other types of plastics that can emit harmful chemicals, especially if burned.

 

List of Disadvantages of Biodegradable Plastics

 

Need for Composters- The flipside of using biodegradable plastics is that there will be a need for industrial composters to turn them into composts and availability of the equipment in some countries can be a problem. Apart from the cost, not all countries have the proper equipment especially if this is not the priority of the government.

 

Engineering Issues- These bioplastics are plant-based and this means that they come from organic sources from farms such as soybeans and corn. However, these organic plants are sprayed with pesticides which contain chemicals that can contaminate the crops and be transferred or included in the finished product.

 

Risk of Contamination- Biodegradable plastics should not be mixed with non-biodegradable plastics when thrown in garbage bins. The problem here is that not all people know how to segregate or distinguish bioplastics from other plastic types. Once these two types of plastics are mixed together, these bioplastics become contaminated and cannot be used anymore.