Plastic certified as compost isn’t thrown away in local composting systems: 60% doesn’t really degrade and thus ends up polluting more vegetable gardens and gardens as it is unknowingly reused. This came through a study conducted by University College London, published In Frontiers in Sustainability that involved British citizens in a wonderful experience. The research also shows how labels applied to biodegradable and biodegradable plastics mislead and confuse consumers, resulting in improper disposal of waste.
Global plastic pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time: a report published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last February showed that plastic consumption has quadrupled in the past 30 years, and only 9% is recycling. Thus the demand for compostable plastics is increasing more and more, with uses in organic waste bags, food packaging, dishes and cutlery.
The problem, highlighted by the study led by Danielle Birkes, is that this type of plastic is currently not compatible with most waste management systems and there is no international standard for home compostable plastic.
“We’ve shown that home composting, being uncontrolled, is largely ineffective and not a good way to get rid of compostable packs,” says Berkes. “The idea that a substance can be sustainable is a widespread misunderstanding: in fact – adds the researcher – what is sustainable is the system through which those materials are produced and recycled.”
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