Advantages and disadvantages of biodegradable plastics
There are two types of biodegradable plastics. These bioplastics are made from renewable raw materials and plastics that come from petrochemicals with degradable additives. These types of plastics are designed to minimize contamination from plastic pollutants, which are turned into compost after a period of time. However, there is a good side and a bad side to using these plastics.
Advantages of biodegradable plastics
1. Reduced Carbon Emissions
One of the advantages associated with the use of biodegradable plastics is the small amount of carbon emissions in the air during the manufacturing process of bioplastics. Unlike regular plastics, which produce 4 tons of carbon emissions, bioplastics emit only about 0.8 tons of carbon, which contributes to the greenhouse effect and global warming.
2. consumes less energy
The manufacturing process of biodegradable plastics requires less energy and does not require the recycling of fossil fuels. In contrast, conventional plastics require more energy to produce and also require burning fossil fuels. Because less energy is needed, more bioplastics can be produced while reducing environmental pollution.
3. requires less landfill
Non-biodegradable plastics are sent to landfills for disposal. As a result, land area that could be used for agricultural, residential or industrial applications is converted to landfill. If bioplastics are used, there is no need to add more landfill because these plastics can be absorbed by the soil and converted to compost or humus.
In addition to taking less time to decompose when discarded, biodegradable plastics are recyclable and non-toxic because they contain no chemicals or toxins, especially when burned. They can release harmful chemicals.
Disadvantages of biodegradable plastics
1. Need for a composter
Another aspect of using biodegradable plastics is that industrial composters are needed to turn them into compost, and the availability of equipment can be a problem in some countries. Apart from the cost, not all countries have the right equipment, especially if this is not a priority for the government. Then the bioplastics that need to be disposed of will not be properly discarded.
2. Engineering issues
These bioplastics are plant-based, which means they come from organic sources on farms, such as soybeans and corn. However, the pesticides sprayed on these organic plants contain high levels of chemicals that can contaminate the crop and be transferred or included in the finished product.
3. Risk of contamination
Biodegradable plastics should not be mixed with non-biodegradable plastics when they are thrown in the trash. The problem here is that not everyone knows how to separate or differentiate bioplastics from other plastic types. Once these two plastics are mixed together, these bioplastics become contaminated and can no longer be used. As a result, these contaminated bioplastics will be buried and increase in volume.
Biodegradable plastics are becoming increasingly popular as awareness of global warming and environmental issues grows. Despite their drawbacks, bioplastics will help focus attention on the benefits of using bioplastics and educate people about their importance and impact on a global scale.