A few weeks back, we brought your attention to the plight of camels, dying en masse from plastic calcification in their stomachs in the deserts of the UAE. As I traveled through India, I noticed sacred cows everywhere munching on plastic bags and cutlery. Animals in great numbers, on sea and land, are dying from plastic ingestion on a grand scale.
Thanks to greenprophet.com, we have some great information about biodegradable plastic, which companies increasingly push in order to make us feel better about using single-use packaging.
Here’s the ‘gist of the Green Prophet’s argument against “green” plastic:
There is a seemingly endless supply of cheap, lightweight plastic products that we are being convinced we cannot live without. To make us feel better, we are now told these items can be made of “bioplastic,” a marvelous new material with magical properties.
What is the truth about bioplastics?
Bioplastics are plastics made from plants. But bioplastics may or may not be biodegradable, may or may not be toxic. Bioplastics are not a panacea to the plastic pollution problem; in fact, they create a whole new set of problems. Bioplastics are surrounded by myth and wrong expectations.
So, while the UAE has taken a great step forward by banning non-biodegradable plastic bags, their solution to produce and distribute oxo-biodegradable bags throughout the country is less of a victory than we would hope for. We will wait to see what their plans are for disposal and composting.
And, as always, here’s our advice: bring your own re-usable bag! There is no substitute for re-using existing materials as an alternative to more production.