A popular ‘compostable’ bioplastic isn’t as biodegradable as it seems

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - 09:03 in Earth & Climate

PLA is only compostable under specific high-temperature conditions that “cannot be found in nature.”. DepositPhotos The use of plastic across all facets of human life has grown more and more pervasive in the last few decades, resulting in a surge in global environmental pollution. More than half of the amount of plastic produced from 1950 to 2017 became plastic waste, which harms ecosystems, livelihoods, and food security around the globe. In the United States alone, about 35.7 million tons of plastic were generated in 2018. Exploring potential alternatives to conventional petroleum-based plastics, like bioplastics, is necessary to mitigate pollution and reduce the waste stream. Bioplastics are usually made from extracted starches, oils, and sugars from renewable sources such as corn and sugarcane—like poly(lactic acids) or PLAs. Others are made from polymers produced...

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