The plastic waste problem has become a global concern, with tons of plastic waste being dumped into landfills and oceans every day. In response, the use of recycled plastic has gained popularity as a more sustainable solution. In this blog, we will explore why recycled plastics are better for the world compared to biodegradable and compostable plastics.
Biodegradable and compostable plastic is a type of plastic that can be broken down by natural biological processes. Unlike traditional plastic, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, biodegradable plastic can be broken down into natural elements, such as carbon dioxide, water, and biomass. Biodegradable plastic can be made from a variety of materials, including plant-based materials like cornstarch and sugarcane.
Production and Energy Consumption
Biodegradable and compostable plastics require significant amounts of energy to produce, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. The production process of biodegradable and compostable plastics is also complex, requiring more resources than recycled plastic.
Disposal and Breakdown
Biodegradable and compostable plastics are designed to break down into natural elements, such as carbon dioxide and water, in specific conditions. However, these conditions are often not met in landfills and oceans, leading to the same pollution problem as traditional plastic. Additionally, the breakdown of biodegradable and compostable plastics releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
The production of biodegradable and compostable plastics requires the use of natural resources, such as crops and trees, which could be used for food production and environmental conservation. This creates a conflict between using resources for plastic production and using them for more essential purposes.
Recycled plastic is made by processing plastic waste that has been collected from various sources, such as households and industries. The collected plastic waste is then cleaned, shredded, melted, and processed into new plastic products. This process of recycling plastic waste reduces the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans, and it conserves natural resources by reducing the need for virgin plastic production.
Reduced Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The production of virgin plastic requires significant amounts of energy, water, and natural resources. In contrast, the production of recycled plastic consumes less energy, water, and natural resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources. According to the EPA, producing recycled plastic reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 71% compared to producing virgin plastic.
Reduced Plastic Waste in Landfills and Oceans
Recycling plastic waste reduces the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans. This helps to prevent environmental pollution and preserve natural habitats for marine and wildlife.
Promotes Circular Economy
Recycling plastic waste promotes a circular economy by reducing waste and conserving natural resources. This creates a sustainable system where waste is minimized, resources are conserved, and products are reused, reducing the demand for virgin plastic production.
While biodegradable and compostable plastics seem like a sustainable solution to the plastic waste problem, recycled plastic remains a more sustainable option. The production of recycled plastic requires less energy, conserves natural resources, and reduces plastic waste in landfills and oceans. As consumers, we can promote sustainability by choosing products made from recycled plastic and properly disposing of plastic waste in recycling bins. By doing so, we can help to create a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.