Engineering Materials

Photodegradable Plastic Bags--Yes, They Are Bad

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I beg to Differ: You are confusing bio and photo degradable!
ejw   1/6/2012 10:50:03 AM
Hi Doug,

Your post is interesting, but I am afraid that you are confusing bio-degradable bags and photo-degradable bags.  Thus there are some factual errors in your article.   Photodegradable bags, such as ECOgrade bags, are not bio-degradable, and therefore do not have the issues associated with your comments.  Specifically, 

1)   Plastics have value as recovered commodities,

AGREED:  Certain photo-degradable bags, such as ECOgrade, can be recycled, and therefore maintain this value.

2)   The biodegradable additives don't reduce the carbon footprint of packaging,

TRUE FOR BIODEGRADABLE, BUT NOT PHOTODEGRADABLE.  Photodegradable bags contain 46% less plastic resin, and produce 34% less Greenhouse Gas in preproduction, as well as use less energy in manufacture.  They do not produce GHG upon degradation.

3)   The degradable additives jeopardize recycling streams, and

NOT TRUE FOR CERTAIN TYPES, SUCH AS ECOGRADE.  ECOgrade does not contain toxins that jepordize recycling, and do not degrade once mixed in the recycling stream

4)   They will not solve the littering problem.

Depends how you define this.  We all beleive people should not litter.  But if littered, photodegradable bags will degrade and go away, minimizing risk to wildlife and the resulting "urban tumbleweed"

The European Plastics Recyclers Association don't address the issue of the degradability of plant-based plastics, which may reduce the carbon footprint of packaging, but have  the additional problem of pulling corn, potatoes and other plants from human food supply.

AGAIN, THIS IS BIO-DEGRADABLE:  Photodegradable bags do not contain corn, potatioes, and other food items.

THiese are common confusions, and misspercetions.  I hope this clarification helps clear this up.  For more information you can view FAQs at http://www.gxtgreen.com/page/menu_3/12908.html


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