• Hana Kovac

Greener Plastic...Really?



Being a mother striving to be as earth-friendly as possible can be a tough job. Choosing yogurts depending not on taste but whether they are sold in plastic or glass containers (unless she makes her own), buying pasta in a cardboard container and checking the shelves for a tomato sauce in a glass container (just one in the whole store!) can become quickly overwhelming and choosing a biodegradable plastic packaging might sound as the perfect solution. But is it really greener?

As sugar is sugar is sugar, plastic is plastic. Bioplastic refers to plastic made from plant or other biological material instead of petroleum. It is also often called bio-based plastic. A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50 C and that is not the ocean. They are also not buoyant, so they’re going to sink. Plus, some of the biodegradable additives in plastic to allow it to break down make it harder to recycle, and potentially harmful in the natural environment. [1]

One might think that recycling saves he planet, but in Europe alone, 70 percent of potentially recyclable plastic ends up in landfill, in oceans or are incinerated, leading to the release of devastatingly harmful toxins into the environment. Biodegradable plastic must be heated to break down so it functions similarly to petroleum-based plastic. And plastic, whether biodegradable or not, cannot be recycled infinitely, and after a handful of times it will be discarded, where it will take centuries to degrade. Just to get a sense of what that means - one single water bottle will remain on the planet in some form for a minimum of 450 years. [2]

Tips How To Go Plastic Free

1. Choose glass or metal container when shopping. Produce does not have to be wrapped in plastic, rather use paper bags or bring textile bags. I often just throw my avocados into the shopping basket as such.

2. Refuse the biodegradable bags on the markets and in shops. Always bring your shopping bags.

3. Don't buy plastic bottles, EVER. There are many stylish glass or stainless steel options. Get stainless steel bottles for your kids as well.

4. Compost without composting bags. Store a big composting container under your kitchen sink or if you don't have a garden or your town does not have a community composter, opt for vermicomposting. Except for diseased and pest-laden materials or materials that have been treated with herbicides, almost any type of kitchen and garden waste can be composted. You can use vegetable and fruit peels, vegetable tops, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells, leaves, grass clippings.

5. Last but not least, grow as much as you can yourself. When you grow your own food, you limit waste (such as cucumbers individually wrapped in plastic, Styrofoam for packing two peppers).

#zerowaste #plastic #sustainable #sustainability

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