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Is Compostable Plastic Eco-Friendly? {The Pros and Cons}

More and more households are trying to reduce their use of single-use plastics. Consequently, compostable (or biodegradable) plastic products are often touted as the eco-friendly alternative. Made from natural materials like corn, these plastics boast the ability to break down in a composting system, unlike synthetic materials.

In fact, the Composting Council notes that,

“bioplastics hold the potential to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, foster the development of more sustainable products, and increase the diversion of waste from landfills”.

But how eco-friendly are these new plastics? Are they really the solution to the world’s plastic problem? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of compostable plastics.

Pros

  • Many compostable plastics are designed to break down with proper compost management. This means using these products reduces the amount of single-use plastics going to landfills or polluting the environment.
  • With more and more products on the market, it’s usually not hard to find a compostable alternative to plastic for your home, special event, or business.

Cons

  • Some “compostable” products only break down in a carefully managed, high-heat composting system (i.e. an industrial system). Since many people don’t have a convenient way to access industrial composting facilities, bio-plastics either end up in a home compost bin where they don’t actually break down or they get thrown away.
  • Labels and standards for alternative plastics (biobased, compostable, biodegradable) are sometimes unclear or hard for consumers to understand.
  • As with other eco-friendly choices, compostable plastic products can be more expensive than traditional single-use plastics.

So what should a conscious consumer do when making choices about plastic products? The obvious answer is to reduce the use of disposable, single-use plastics whenever possible.

When that’s not feasible, do careful research on which bioplastic product might serve your needs. Then, make an effort to find a composting facility that can accept that waste.

For more eco-friendly tips for apartment living, contact us today! We’re happy to help you maintain a go-green lifestyle.

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