The suggestion of biodegradable plastics is that the product will eventually decay to nothing or at least dust over a period of time. The idea of biodegradable plastics is that they do not harm the environment. While they might be single-use products, if thrown in a landfill they will breakdown and disappear – however this isn’t necessarily true.
“Research has revealed supposedly biodegradable plastic bags still intact after three years spent either at sea or buried underground” – The Independant.
In truth, it can take 1,000 years for a single plastic bag to biodegrade. So, while it is sold by the manufacturers as a biodegradable product, and in theory, they are not wrong. Is 1,000 years an acceptable time for us to approve a product like this to claim to be ‘biodegradable’?
What timeframe do we establish to be an acceptable time for a product to biodegrade? The share quantity of wasted carrier bags across the planet can cause dramatic environmental effects over 1,000 years. Not only this, but the energy used and pollution caused every time we manufacture a new carrier bag is affecting the environment. To create a carrier bag, plastic pellets must be heated to a temperature of about 500 degrees – just think of the energy usage to reach that temperature, and this is done nearly 1 trillion over, every single year.
In other cases, for example, food packaging which might biodegrade quicker, often they are still not ‘completely’ biodegradable, but instead, break down into microplastics which may persist in the environment.
Tri-pack works solely with polypropylene and while they do not market their product as a bio-degradable one, it is certainly more biodegradable than those who do. In fact, Tri-packs products will biodegrade 2,000 quicker than your standard plastic bottle or 400 times quicker than a single carrier bag. The main difference between these products is that Tri-pack do not harm the environment by working with polypropylene.
Their products are also not single-use, they are part of a circular-environment meaning the same product can be recycled and turned back into the same product over and over again without affecting the outcome, quality or without the use of harmful chemicals or extreme energy.