Are Plastic Shopping Bags Biodegradable?
If you have ever read an article about these things, you may have been wondering if they are. But do they actually degrade in the environment? There are many misconceptions about this. It is important to know the truth before putting your money into the purchase.
Reusable bags reduce the need for disposable bags
Reusable shopping bags are a good way to reduce your carbon footprint. They cut down on litter on land and in the ocean, and they save energy and water during manufacturing. But not all reusable bags are created equal.
The most environmentally friendly reusable pla shopping bags is a cotton tote. These bags can be made from curtains or old bed sheets. It is a good idea to wash them after use to remove bacteria.
Other options include reusable plastic shopping bags. These can be found at most retail stores for a few bucks. They have a woven feel and are thick. In addition, they are likely to be less tearable than the previous flimsy versions.
You may also want to consider a reusable food bag. They are designed to keep raw food out of other food products. However, they should not be used for other purposes.
Another option is to make your own. A simple cotton tote can be made from old bed sheets.
Biodegradable plastic bags may not degrade all that quickly in the environment
Biodegradable plastic shopping bags such as polylactic shopping bags might not break down all that quickly in the environment, according to new research. They require certain conditions to do so.
The Environmental Protection Agency has regulations for landfills to block out moisture and oxygen. This means biodegradable trash bags will take a longer time to decompose than non-biodegradable plastics. However, it is possible for biodegradable plastics to be recycled and turned into new plastics.
Biodegradable plastics can be made from plant-based materials like corn starch. However, these can still contain petrochemical-based materials.
The University of Plymouth conducted a study on the effects of biodegradable plastic shopping bags. The bags were tested in soil and seawater. Although the compostable bags were broken down, the others were not.
While it is true that plastic can be broken down naturally, it takes years to do so. Several hundred years is necessary to completely destroy synthetic plastics. In the meantime, biodegradable plastics can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
They can also be recycled
Most plastic shopping bags cannot be recycled curbside. This is because they are a hazard to recycling center workers, clogging up their machinery. Fortunately, most larger grocery stores offer a plastic bag recycling receptacle.
However, if you aren’t going to participate in a curbside program, there are several ways to recycle your used plastic bags. Among these are store drop off programs, where you drop off your used bags and they are picked up and sent off to a specialized recycling facility.
You may also want to consider using a reusable pla bags. Aside from saving money, these bags are eco-friendly, and they can be used again and again. They can also be reused for pet waste.
To find plastic bag recycling programs near you, you can use a site like Recycling Search. Using this site, you can search by zip code to find a receptacle close to your home.
Another way to recycle your used plastic bags is to keep a collection bin at home. There are many smaller retailers that offer these bins.
They pose a threat to animals
Plastic shopping bags are a major problem for both human and marine life. It is estimated that 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year.
They are difficult to recycle and pose a serious environmental threat to marine life. When they are ingested, they clog up digestive systems and entangle animals. This is a risk for hundreds of species, including whales and turtles.
Plastic trash in the oceans causes starvation, suffocation, and death to marine life. It also pollutes the water, which is then contaminated by the chemicals contained in plastics.
Marine animals and birds are particularly vulnerable to the effects of plastic litter. Many animals mistake plastic for food, or get tangled in it. Some are caught by abandoned fishing lines, while others are entangled in plastic shopping bags.
Seabirds and dolphins have ingested huge amounts of litter. In one case, a sperm whale ingested 450 pounds of plastic garbage.
Whales, dolphins, seabirds, and seals have all suffered because they have eaten marine debris. Plastic shopping bags can entangle animals and block their digestive system.