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Why are we still using non-biodegradable plastic?

Image credit: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0828/6805/products/PB1117-0.48_2048x.jpg?v=1554245953

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Povilas S
Povilas S Oct 22, 2020
3
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Does all biodegradable plastic really degrade?

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Oct 22, 2020
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
That's true, there are different degrees of biodegradability amongst those plastics and I think just a small percentage are actually fully compostable. The aim would be to make them all like that. Thicker types of plastic could be made from vegetable starch. I think it's just a matter of effort, funding, and development of technology. But this is absolutely worth it.

Lack of education on the use of biodegradable plastic

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 26, 2020

Having bigger problems to worry about

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Oct 26, 2020
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
Yes, but those people also don't make important (if any) decisions regarding this. Governments make them. Also, the choices of big businesses influencing the market are very important, so increasing public awareness and enthusiasm about this might help to change the minds of people who really have the power to change the situation. People struggling with poverty don't really care (as you noted yourself) which type of plastic they are using, so if they had an option to use a better one, which doesn't pollute nature, they would choose it. Nobody likes wrappers on the sidewalk. Another thing is that people who are in poverty produce way less waste, they tend to reuse everything more and tend to take more things directly from nature rather than from shops. People who consume the most produce the most waste. And raising awareness in groups of those types of people would be the right strategy, not amongst the poor.

You tapped into another very important and arguably even a more important global problem here. I'm not saying that plastic pollution is more important than hunger and poverty. They are simply different problems.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni4 months ago
Povilas S I completely agree that pollution and poverty are not comparable and are simply different problems. I do not intend to compare them.

As you rightly pointed out, people with power can decide whether or not to use biodegradable materials. But, will they? Power is in the economy. Producing biodegradable wrapping material increases the cost of their products. That might ultimately bring down their sales or decrease their profits. I wonder how likely are the people with the power to make such a change. I, therefore, went with the alternative. Spreading awareness amongst the users than the consumers of plastic is relatively easier. The users can decide not to use goods with non-degradable wrapping material. This will then indicate the producers (people with power) to produce biodegradable materials and may bring about the desired change. In this scenario, the poor, although aware of the ill-effects of plastic, have no choice but to consume them.

Then again, either or both of the scenarios are likely.
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni
Yes, but as I noted, they are the ones who use the least of it. Really poor people rarely buy stuff at all and they tend to reuse what they find/get for free. The consumers of average to high economic positions would be the "target audience". I think starting the reactive chain from there we would eventually get to the point where the change would be done globally. That's usually how things proceed.

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General comments

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic4 months ago
In my country, there are still a few supermarket chains that don't use paper bags/boxes or biodegradable plastic. I avoid shopping there. When I make a mistake and figure out there are no paper bags at the counter, I carry all my groceries out like this https://stmedia.stimg.co/ows_157801180635289.jpg (minus the reversed cap)
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Povilas S
Povilas S4 months ago
Darko Savic That is a small cost for not polluting mother nature;)