Be wary of bioplastics

An analysis of the way that alternatives to traditional single use plastic (SUP) degrade in the environment has provided some shocking results.

The B.A.N. List 2.0 looked at plant-based alternatives to petroleum-based SUPs and found that many products marketed as biodegradable rarely biodegrade fully when they end up in the sea.

One of the worst offenders was a so called “compostable” straw which was still found intact in the marine environment after two years. By comparison, the paper straw disappeared completely.

“There is much confusion surrounding terms such as biodegradable and compostable, as well as bioplastic, bio-based, bio-polymer, etc. While all of these terms have specific meanings, they are confusing to consumers. This confusion is often created by
misleading, suggestive, and unclear marketing claims—statements, words, images and even packaging colour and design. Terms such as ‘compostable’, ‘biodegradable’ or ‘ecofriendly’ are used frequently on packaging in ways that confuse the public,” the report says.

Find out more about the B.A.N. List 2.0 from 5 Gyres.