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After Three Years in Dirt, Biodegradable Bags Still Usable

Most of us, if not all of us, can’t rid ourselves of plastic use. Yearly, we humans produce over 300 million tons of plastic (such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc.). Approximately 50% of this (150 million tons) is single-use plastic, which are plastic products that are discarded after use. Also, over 8 million tons of plastic are thrown to our oceans yearly. This phenomenon severely affects the environment. (Also, plastic takes 1,000 years to decompose).

One of the solutions offered to us are biodegradable bags which usually take 3 to 6 months to decompose. However, this may not be the case. research from the University of Plymouth found that after three years in the dirt or water, so-called “biodegradable” bags were still in relatively good shape. Many were still perfectly functional bags that had lost little of their material or tensile strength, still able to carry five pounds of groceries. And even “compostable” samples didn’t always disappear without a trace. While more research is needed, the scientists concluded that biodegradable bags may not disappear from the environment much, if any, faster than traditional plastic ones.

What, then, could the possible solution be? We could rid ourselves of plastic, or, should we find ourselves having a plastic bag, let us just keep using it until it is no longer usable.

(Image Credit: Lloyd Russell/ University of Plymouth)

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