Q: Are Biodegradable Plastics Good For the Environment?
Conventional plastics are made from petroleum based products derived from oil. They will either take hundreds of years to break down or, in the worst case, never decompose. Biodegradable plastics are made from conventional petroleum based plastics, but also contain chemical additives. These additives cause the plastic to break down more rapidly when exposed to air and light, but could take anywhere between 2-5 years to break down, if not longer. The other type of biodegradable plastic is known as bioplastic. Bioplastics tend to be made from plant biomass, such as corn starch, sugar cane or wheat, and should either completely and rapidly break down naturally, or be compostable. However whether a product is biodegradable or not ultimately depends on where it ends up.
Biodegradable plastics are not good for the environment as they are rarely recyclable, and biodegradable does not mean the same thing as compostable. Compostable goods are often a better choice than biodegradable ones, but only if you can compost appropriately. So the answer we firmly believe is to take plastic out of the equation and use cardboard, paper based biodegradable products.