What a Load of Rubbish!
Sustainability is becoming an essential part of our lifestyle, it’s no longer just an environmental issue, it’s an approach to every day life. Here at Zeroo we’re passionate about a sustainable environment, it’s right at the heart of what we do. In light of this, ‘What a Load of Rubbish’ intends to bust the myths surrounding confusing packaging/ bag labels, to provide our readers with a simple, clear and sustainable solution. Before we get into it, remember to follow our social media at the bottom of this page and subscribe to our mailing list to gain an inside track on all our operations here at Zeroo. With that dealt with, let’s start with ‘biodegradable’...
Biodegradable means the materials have the ability to break down into their ‘natural elements’ within a year. These natural elements can include plastic, and as a result the packaging releases harmful toxins when degrading. The term ‘biodegradable’ is very vague, and a lot of companies use it as a marketing angle. By it’s very definition plastic is biodegradable, it just so happens to take 450 years.
Biodegradable packaging that advertises a 1 year degradation is usually made from petrochemical based materials (the same as conventional plastic packaging), which is then injected with a substance to erode the plastic. Once broken down what’s left is a sludge of toxic chemicals...
So how do you dispose of biodegradable packaging/bags? General waste. The only perk really is they will degrade in landfill. However, most London boroughs have a zero to landfill policy. It’s therefore most likely the packaging will be burnt to generate electricity, releasing carbon into the atmosphere.
I hope the title is becoming more clear, let’s move onto compostable.
Compostable packaging means it’s made from plant based materials which can return to the earth as soil when disposed of in the right environment and conditions. This being a home compost heap, a conventional food waste bin or an industrial facility. The process of degradation does not release harmful toxins, the packaging has a net 0 carbon impact from production to degradation, and the compost created is sold onto farmers as fertiliser, completing a fully circular waste cycle. Compostables are also the favourable option when focusing on the ocean plastic crisis, dissolving within 3 months after exposure to marine water. And before you ask, cardboard and paper bags are both fully compostable.
The main drawback to compostable packaging is it’s unlikely to be a global solution to plastic pollution. The land mass that would be needed to cater for a global demand wouldn’t be practical or sustainable. It’s important to remember there will undoubtably be large industry breakthroughs in the coming years and compostable packaging is just the first positive and sustainable solution in a new and exciting emerging industry.
In light of a much shorter answer to tell your friends, biodegradable is a load of old cr*p, go compostable. ‘Why didn’t you just put that at the top’ I hear you ask... well you wouldn’t have read my blog then would you? Sorry not sorry!
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