Deceptive bio-plastic packaging: the name delivers less than it promises

Deceptive bio-plastic packaging: the name delivers less than it promises 1920 768 flustix

Since there are garbage bags, packaging and dishes made of bioplastics, they often end up in the organic waste, on the compost or in the forest. That sounds logical, as bioplastics decompose completely. Or do they? Theoretically yes – but in practice mostly not (yet). There are four major problems, including the fact that there is no recognized licensing procedure for bioplastics.

Material chaos. Bioplastics is a collective term for packaging made from various raw materials with different recycling properties, logos, and certificates. Consumers can hardly understand which packaging is compostable, how, and where.

Compost cycle. Many packages need 90 days and high temperatures in industrial composting plants to be completely decomposed. But: Most plants only work with a six-week cycle and lower temperatures – and even then the plastic only decomposes partially.

Sorting problem. Even when bio-packaging arrives at the right facility (composting), it is then sorted out and thrown away just like other plastics. The reasoning behind this: the quantities are still too low for economically viable separation and recycling. According to the German Federal Environment Ministry, around 2.6 million metric tons of conventional plastic packaging are consumed in Germany every year – only 0.3 to 0.5 percent of which is made from or contains bio-based plastics.

Hobby trap. Some packaging can only be composted industrially. When hobby gardeners throw such materials into their own compost or bury them in raised beds, these materials do not decompose.

Conclusion: Bioplastics are only an ecologically sensible alternative at first glance. Because it largely ends up in household waste, it slows down efforts toward a circular economy. For flustix it means: With the current state of the art, disposable products made of so-called bioplastics cannot be certified – and therefore do not get a seal.

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