3rd Phase of make UAE plastic bags free drive

Posted on February 14, 2012 by DrRossH in Plastic Limiting Regulations

3rd phase of make UAE plastic bags free drive.

It is hard to believe a whole country like Dubai can be listening to green washing salesmen.  Oxodegradable bags are possibly worse for the environment than the original plastic bags that virtually last forever.

Oxodegradable bags;

·         will fragment into little pieces that then will blow around getting into every where including our water ways.   Do we want this?

·         will fall apart on customers.  This is what happened to the Tesco UK bags before Tesco realised they were worse and dropped them.

·         will not degrade in a landfill as they only degrade in the presence of sunlight and oxygen.  In most of the landfill there is no oxygen nor sunlight, so bags going to landfills will last as long as conventional bags.  i.e they are just as long lasting.

·         cannot be recycled any more, they have to be disposed off.  This has made a true one off use bag, they are better off with out the oxo additive.  In spite of some dubious claims by the oxo additive manufacturers they can be recycled with other products that are also going to be made oxodegradable, this is very limiting claim and in general they cannot be recycled with other plastics.  They make more plastic waste particles.


Manufacturers of oxo-biodegradable bags say that, despite some limitations, their bags were still the most environmentally friendly alternative.   This is greenwashing.   These bags are worse for the environment as explained above.  The makers of the oxodegradable additives are losing market share to the newer and indeed more environmental friendly additives that allow bags to naturally biodegrade in a landfill. 

“Eventually the molecules will be so degraded that microbes will be able to consume them.”   The oxo additive manufactures like to claim this and their salesmen are quick to push this claimed attribute, but there is not one ASTM or equivalent study they quote that proves they will biodegrade.  The little bits of plastic the bags fragment into are still little bits of plastic, except now blowing around the environment.

Landfill Biodegradable bags

The government ought to review landfill biodegradable bags.   These are bags made with an additive that attracts naturally occurring bacteria in a landfill to digest the bags.  Prior to going to a landfill, the bags perform just like a conventional bag with no strength degradation, can be reused multiple times, can be recycled with mainstream recycling.  Only when they are in a landfill with they start to biodegrade.

The jute and paper bags would be better options over all.  But please consider all the negatives of oxodegradable bags.