AD firm claims it will settle degradable bag debate – UKPosted on September 23, 2014 by DrRossH in General
There is an ongoing and heated debate over whether plastic that degrades when exposed to air (oxo-biodegradable) leaves residual fragments. By contrast, hydro-biodegradable plastic is classified as compostable and can be used in AD processes.
A previous “large desk” study conducted by OWS for the Plastics Europe association failed to either confirm or deny the validity of claims over the biodegradability of oxo-degradable plastics.
Yes there is certainly a question as to whether these plastic will biodegrade. The claims are made on theory of the carbon chain being small enough to be eaten by microbes. But we must ask will there be microbes in the places that these plastics do fragment. they do not fragment in landfill as there is little oxygen there. They will only fragment up top of the ground or in the ocean with oxygen and sunlight present. Are there microbes up on top of the ground sufficient to eat these plastics? We would suspect not.
The other factor and one the oxo guys are far to scared to discuses the effect of fragmentation on plastics and marine live. When a plastic breaks down into a little bite size bits, birds and fish like to eat it. 100% of birds on Lord Howe Island now have plastic in their stomachs. The chicks are dying in their 1000’s, a horrible death. Oxo would exacerbate this and kill more animals. The island of Midway are similar.
Not saying any plastic in the ocean is good as they all break down in sunlight to little pieces. But to put an accelerant in it seems to be the wrong thing to do.