The push-away from needless plastic use is a noble and necessary one.
Researchers found that they were labeled as "biodegradable and compostable" (1965).
Researchers found that they were labeled as biodegradable and compostable. The question raised by the study from the University of Plymouth in the UK is the biodegradable chemical mixtures.
"After three years, I was really surprised that I could not hold a load of shopping, "says lead researcher Imogen Napper.
"When you see something in this way, I think you automatically assume it will degrade more quickly than conventional bags." But, after three years at least, our research shows that it may not be the case. "
UK retailers: two types of oxo-biodegradable bags, one biodegradable bag, one compostable bag, and a conventional high-density polyethylene plastic bag.
Oxo-biodegradable plastics are designed to break down quickly, but can still leave behind tiny microplastics, unlike true biodegradables. Compostable plastics, meanwhile, are a subset of biodegradable plastics that are being developed to degrade faster.
All five plastic types have been tested in the open air, buried in soil, and submerged in the 'ocean'.
The open-air, short-term work on all the bags, which had split into just nine months.
In terms of soil and water though, it is a different story: the biodegradable, oxo-biodegradable and conventional plastic bags could still hold shopping three years after being buried or submerged.
The compostable bag type did the best, vanishing from the water environment within three months and broke up in the soil as well – although fragments were still detected after 27 months of testing.
Through their analysis, the researchers are hoping to raise awareness of what "biodegradable" actually means when it comes to plastic bags – something that can not be recycled in the heat and pressure of an industrial facility.
The team thus wants to see stricter international standards around what the definitions of biodegradable actually mean.
A spokesperson for Vegware, [one] The Guardian that "compostable, biodegradable and oxo-degradable … compostable materials can compost with five key conditions – microbes, oxygen, moisture, warmth and time."
"This research as they are seen as labeled as biodegradable, Richard Thompson says
"We have not tested any consistent, reliable and relevant In the context of marine litter. "
The research has been published in Environmental Science & Technology .