Thursday, October 15, 2009

Biodegradable is not always good

Biodegradable plastics sound good for the environment, right? You've heard how many years plastics hang around for in the landfills ... Technically yes, but only if you keep them out of your rubbish bins and plastic recycling because if these biodegradable plastics are mixed with regular plastic recycling they can ruin the integrity of the recycled products (i.e. the products would be weakened). This in turn will cause people to move away from recycled plastic products, which is not good for the recycling industry. Not only that but landfills 'mummify' our trash, so degrading takes centuries, not years.

So, what can we do about it - not too sure (avoid Tiger Brands bread or bury the bags in your garden?). This press release from SAPRO on biodegradable plastics isn't written for the layman. Their conclusion seems to be unsure and instead suggest reduction of packaging is a better way to go (I agree).


  1. I believe you have rushed into posting this blog. The Tiger brands bread bag is a degradable plastic bag and not a bio degradable plastic bag. Their are many kinds of degradable but must get grouped into biodegradable which is a mistake. Please visit and then repost your blog

  2. James I believe you missed the point about my post (and actually it seems as if the Tiger brands bread bag is actually bio degradable). I went to your site but it seems it was a shameless promotion and doesn't actually contain any information about the fact degradable or biodegradable means nothing unless it lands up on a compost heap! While I think your products are cute, it would be better for the environment if we brought our own containers instead of expending lots of energy producing containers that will only be used one.