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Are "Degradable Plastic Bags" Really Environmentally Friendly?

Dec. 17, 2020

According to the China Plastics Association's Plastic Recycling Professional Committee, 1 billion plastic bags are used every day to buy vegetables in China, and the consumption of other plastic bags is more than 2 billion every day. This is equivalent to using at least 2 plastic bags per day. How many did you use today? I hope your answer is 0, because we can cultivate many habits of not using or using plastic in our lives, right?

Today's Biodegradable Bag Manufacturer want to remind everyone to use less plastic bags. If you want to replace general plastic bags by choosing some degradable plastic bags, the following concepts about biodegradable plastic bags will help you Make the right environmental choice!

Perhaps you have discovered that there are some degradable plastic bags on the market. You might think that plastic bags with the word degradable should be degradable and environmentally friendly. However, this is not the case.

First of all, only when plastic bags can eventually become water and carbon dioxide, can they be truly environmentally friendly bags. The so-called environmentally friendly plastic bags on the market mainly include these types: Degradable Plastic Bags, biodegradable plastic bags, and compostable plastic bags.

Degradable Plastic Bags

Degradable Plastic Bags

Biodegradable plastic bag

The polymer in the plastic bag is partially or completely damaged due to ultraviolet radiation, oxidation corrosion, and biological corrosion. This means changes in properties such as discoloration, surface cracking and fragmentation.

Biodegradable plastic bag

The organic matter in plastic bags is completely or partially converted into water, carbon dioxide/methane, energy and new biomass under the action of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi).

Compostable plastic bags

Plastic bags can be biodegraded under the special conditions and time scales of high-temperature soils, and usually require industrial composting to achieve better degradation efficiency.

From the above three points of view, if the plastic bag is biodegradable or compostable, it will eventually be converted into water and carbon dioxide due to biodegradation, and disappear from the environment, achieving a true "environmental protection" effect!

And if the plastic bag is degradable, specifically including photodegradation or thermal oxidative degradation, it can only turn the plastic bag into small plastic fragments, which is not conducive to the recycling and cleaning of plastics. Plastics entering the environment will cause more pollution problems. Therefore, this degradable plastic bag is not environmentally friendly, and it has also caused many opposition in the industry.

Biodegradable plastic bags, in accordance with the standards stipulate that plastic bags can be biodegraded under certain conditions, such as an environment with a temperature of 70 degrees and sufficient CO2. Therefore, when biodegradable plastic bags enter the ocean and other non-standard environments, they will reduce the biodegradability of plastic bags. Therefore, when choosing a suitable biodegradable plastic bag, you should also treat the bag after use under suitable environmental requirements.

It's troublesome, right, so you cultivate the habit of not using plastic bags, and bringing your own shopping bags and storage boxes is king! However, learning to distinguish between biodegradable plastics and Compostable Plastics is also a leverage in case of emergency!