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Recyclebank

Are Bioplastics Better For The Environment?
5

By Recyclebank |

There's a lot of hype around bioplastics, but do they live up to it?

Are Bioplastics Better
For The Environment?
It’s debatable.
Bioplastics use fewer fossil fuels,
but they can’t be recycled.

Some bioplastics can be
composted, but only at a
commercial facility,
not in your backyard.

CLICK FOR ANSWER Flip

Bioplastics are tricky because they tend to be less harmful than petroleum plastic in their production, but at the end of their useful life they aren't recyclable, and there isn't yet a strong enough commercial-composting network established to process these items. Because of this, bioplastic products often end up contaminating recyclables at the MRF, littered on the ground, or buried in a landfill. What’s needed to make these products sustainable are more commercial composting facilities and systems for curbside compost pick-up.

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  • Mauricio E. 3 years ago
    Straws made from avocado pits (invented by young Mexican engineer Scott Munguia, are fully biodegraded after 240 days of exposure to natural elements or buried in your garden. Patented by Munguia's BIOFASE company, are currently available at chain restaurants such as Chili's, P.F. Chang's China Bistro and Fiesta Americana.
  • Steven C. 3 years ago
    I've never seen a commercial composting facility. Has anyone ?
  • John D. 3 years ago
    So are you implying that they won't break down if "buried in a landfill"?
    • BenD@Recyclebank 3 years ago

      Hi John, 

      Good question. In a landfill, compostable plastic will break down eventually, but will create more methane in the process, and the resulting material will be lost. Alternatively, if sent to a commercial composting facility, compostable plastic can be made into useful materials again while creating less methane in the process.

    • John D. 3 years ago
      Ah I see. Interesting, thanks!
  • Barbara W. 3 years ago
    How do you know the difference if its a bioplastic or not?
    • BenD@Recyclebank 3 years ago

      Bioplastic consumer products will typically be labeled as "biodegradable" or "compostable."