The use of petroleum plastics has massive impacts on the environment, filling landfills with this type of plastic that could take centuries to biodegrade (with some studies estimating 1,000 before fully eroding) causes not only a loss of precious land but also these plastics donít full degrade they break down into tiny particles that will forever contaminate our soils and water systems.
Petroleum plastics can also find there way into our oceans which not only effect sea life in way such as entanglement. This plastic also erodes and is ingested by sea creatures, which in turn may either be consumed by larger predators that we consume or consumed directly by humans. This leads to these micro plastics not only directly harming sea life but indirectly harming humans.
Biodegradable plastics are important because they have the ability to fully biodegrade under certain conditions leaving no contaminates behind. This provides a product that is far less damaging to the environment.
Biodegradable plastics are manufactured plastics that are designed to biodegrade and be broken down by natural organisms. In most instances this will allow the plastics to degrade back to their natural elements in a reasonable amount of time. This reduces the harm we are doing to the planet and ourselves.
PLA based plastics have issues with biodegradation, for these plastics to break down it requires a perfectly controlled environment. The bacteria that aids in the decomposing of PLA plastics can only function in a controlled environment of around 60 degrees Celsius with zero oxygen, this then allows the plastic to break down in around 90 days. As neither a landfill or a home compost heap can provide these conditions most plastics will end up not decomposing for hundreds of years.
Biodegradable plastics have many advantages when compared to standard PLA type plastics. These advantages are mainly due to the creation or degradability of the materials.
These are just a few of the most prevalent advantages to biodegradable plastics.
Looking into the possible issues with biodegradable plastics we can see there are still a few environmental issues that remain. Ignoring cost and non-environmental issues the below will list environmental issues.