By Suki Kramer
Diamonds are forever, but how bout “eco-plastics?” I’m here to tell ya they aren’t too far behind.
Manufacturer’s in the “green biz” started to talk about this amazing discovery awhile back & everyone’s believed without question…Wow! Plastics made from corn! That biodegrade? Cool!
No one, of course, said anything about #1 – the corn industry is one of the top users of pesticides on the planet & #2 – no one had any PROOF (oh THAT old thing!) that these things actually biodegraded!
See, little did we know (or still know) that what “they” mean by “biodegrade” (geesh, this whole column is full of quotation marks!)
Plastic made from corn is polylactic acid (PLA) & in theory biodegradable. But the theory was a dream & reality is well, a wake up call.
Exactly how long it takes so-called eco-plastics to biodegrade is a subject of much debate. The fact is, we haven’t had long enough to know! Some have suggested that it could take a century. Others insist that it could take as long as 1,000 years. Either way, is that what YOU thought they were?
Now, environmentalists have been saying this for some time now, but you wouldn’t know it. Mainstream publications such as Scientific American & Smithsonian Magazine have been waving a red flag about the problems of supposedly problem-free plastics for quite a few years now. But does the general public know that? Uh uh…all they know is what companies that call themselves “green” are telling them.
Oh here’s another thing. Not only don’t they biodegrade as they should, but when they are forced – only under very specific circumstances – the process releases carbon dioxide & methane, greenhouse gases that actually add to global warming!
Even a group formed especially to make this product, NatureWorks, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, admits that a PLA product will last as long as a regular piece of plastic in a normal landfill.
So, remember all this the next time you hear someone spouting the virtues of biodegradable plastics. Don’t believe the hype.
We’ve seen the plastics of the future – much like the plastics of the past, but with better public relations.
Suki Kramer is the Founder and Owner of suki® advanced. organic. science.® Find Suki Pure skin care and cosmetic products at Whole Foods Markets across the nation. suki® advanced. organic. science.®