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The effect of biodegradable plastic bags on plastic pollution.

Biodegradable bags reduce plastic pollution

Accumulation of plastic in the environment has radically increased. The first plastic from a synthetic polymer in 1907. by Leo Hendrik Baekeland got its start in 1950’s becoming a commodity in 1954. Polyester It only became popular in the 1960’s though, and already plastic pollution started getting attention, as it started affecting the oceans and beaches.

Due to the incredibly long time it takes plastic to break down or be broken down, as well as the leaching of poisonous chemicals into the soil and water the plastic deteriorates, plastic pollution has reached a critical danger for the planets homestasis.

Countries that produce the most plastic waste are:

  • China
  • USA
  • Germany
  • Brazil
  • Japan
  • Nigeria
  • Africa

Plastic pollution research

According to news.nationalgeographic.com, 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic has been produced in 6 decades, of which almost 79% is NOT recycled, but fed into landfills and litter.

  • In the ocean: plastic waste in the ocean causes suffocation of sea animal, strangulation.
  • On land: plastic leaches harmful chemicals into the soil and ground water, causing harm and death to the ecosystems.
  • Microdebris: this refers to micro plastic pieces which can be ound in cosmetics, scrubs and cause micropollutants in the environment.
  • Macrodebris – this is larger than 20mm and include grocery bags, plastic wrappers, fishing nets etc which trap animal life. Plastic pollution has been linked to red tides due to the organic pollutants called POP’s.

Decomposition of plastics depends on the chemical composition and size of plastic, although as there is an increasing amount of pollution, the decomposition is slowing down. Foam plastic cups take around 50 years to break down, while a disposable nappy takes 450 years, a fishing line, while a plastic bag takes between 10 and 1000 years to decompose.

Biodegradable plastic bags are good news!

The good news is that research shows biodegradable plastic bags have been designed to radically decrease the time it takes to decompose, with exposure to heat and the elements breaking down the plastic much more quickly, and supposed to be capable of being decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms.

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