Is there good plastic? Well, it's a little complicated
IS THERE good plastic? We have been sold a story that we can make plastic from biodegradable materials and they do not harm the environment. Is this true?
When looking at environmental impact, there are lots of variables and things to consider.
Supply, manufacturing, production, distribution channels are vast and complex. It is hard to know when we are making a good choice.
Marketing is marketing and the agenda to sell is ever present. We are always being sold, persuaded, manipulated.
Most plastic is not BioPlastic; even if it seems to be. BioPlastic is made from plant material rather than oil and is generally corn... GMO, monocropped, chemical-laden, insect-killing corn. We have grown industrialised food like this for food.
BioPlastics generally are unable to break down in a regular compost; it needs a commercial grade compost, so it gets hot enough to decompose.
It is also often not recyclable (depending on your council's recycling facilities) and hence either contaminate recycling, goes to landfill, waterways, or get composted when put in a green bin - a luxury that many regions do not enjoy.
BioPlastic when ending up in the ocean has the same effect as normal plastic as it doesn't degrade immediately; hence it still has time to kill marine life.
Where do you put your takeaway coffee cup? Are the lids and cup biodegradable? We are not usually in a place with access to an organic waste distribution channel when finishing up a coffee.
We have a linear process which makes us think, we are making a difference. But; what we have done, what we are so good at doing... we've just moved the problem, not really solved anything, patted ourselves on the back for doing a good job and continued on consuming mindlessly as we don't see the devastation we are causing each time we consume.
Bringing your own bags is the same; when we bring our bags we feel like we have made a difference, and we have.
Often after that felling of satisfaction and do-gooding, we stop thinking about what other impacts we are having. You may have brought your own bag (is that plastic?), but you may have also bought packaged food, high transport miles, GMO, monocropped, chemically grown, environmentally destructive, high social impact, not just a loaf of bread or some margarine.
Change takes mindfulness, consideration and diligence. It is also super fun and rewarding. Make the change one little step at a time. Over your lifetime you would have dramatically lowered your impact... maybe even given a little back.