We all know that the use of disposable plastic products is bad for the environment. That is why environmentally friendly biodegradable products are preferred by many.
Unfortunately, new research suggests that this supposedly better option isn’t as great as it’s suggested after all.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University recently conducted a study published in Environmental Pollution, showing that biodegradable products cause similar harmful effects to the environment as ordinary plastic.
The researchers compared disposable cups made of regular plastic with bio-plastic in the university’s hydrochemical lab and found that both contained chemical additives that are toxic to human and animal cells.
They then ground the cups into microparticles and investigated their effect on sea squirts (ascidiacea), a type of marine invertebrates that feed by filtering seawater through the body. The results showed that both types of plastics caused similar damage to the ascidiacea’s reproductive system.
The study also showed that disposable bio-plastic plates placed in the Gulf of Eilat for three months absorbed water and swelled, but did not disintegrate.
« The explanation for our findings may lie in the dated standards that classify bioplastics as environmentally friendly, » said TAU’s Prof. Noa Shenkar, who conducted the study together with research student Guillermo Anderson.
“These standards define bio-plastics as materials that are biodegradable within 180 days in composting facilities, where the temperature is maintained at 50 ° Celsius and the moisture and oxidation levels are closely monitored and specifically adjusted. In general, these conditions do not occur in nature. ”
« Until the standards for » environmentally friendly « disposables are updated and clearer explanations are available to consumers, this is an important consideration when spending good money on disposable dishes with bio-plastic seals, » she added.
While you may be calming your conscience, you may still be polluting the environment. Therefore, it is preferable not to use disposable plastic items.
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