Microplastics and Biodegradable Bags - The Truth
by Josh Halevy
The term "microplastics" was introduced in 2004 by Professor Richard Thompson, a marine researcher scientist at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom.
What is micro plastic made of?
Microplastics are not types of plastic but any type of small plastic bits, pieces of plastic debris smaller than 5 mm, a by-product of the plastic industry manufacturing larger plastics.
Such plastic particles will never completely dissolve but break down to smaller and smaller particles: the smallest microplastic particle size found is 1.6 micrometer in a marine environment.
There are two types of Microplastics, Primary and Secondary.
Primary Microplastics were created as such- small plastic particles used in personal care and beauty products such as skin exfoliators, or various plastic fibers from textiles, plastic micro-beads, and plastic pellets
Secondary Microplastics are formed from the degradation of larger plastic parts as plastic waste such as plastic bottles and plastic bags.
Why are micro plastics a problem?
Both groups are known to cause major plastic pollution due to the increasing presence of Microplastics in soil and water samples inspected, but even worse, in humans organs and animal bodies.
A leading website specializing in market research reports the following: information: Despite environmental advantages, biodegradable plastics also have some shortcomings. Segregation of conventional plastics and biodegradable plastic is a big drawback as there is no distinct difference between them. The inclusion of conventional plastic in biodegradable plastic landfills can cause complications in the decomposition process.
Why are Microplastics an ecological disaster and where micro plastics are found?
Samples that were taken from the soil, lakes, the Atlantic oceans, and drinking water inspected by leading universities showed a very high amount of microscopic plastic particles.
Do we eat micro plastics?
The contamination of drinking water is a huge challenge as most filtering systems cannot remove them and they end up in our organs.
Another source of the contamination is marine animals, fish eaten by people, and other marine animals eaten by humans such as soft shellfish found in lakes and the river.
Fish eat the particles present in their marine environment that remain in their body and as part of the food chain, we eat them and digest the plastic.
Another animal that suffers from this plastic pollution is fish-eating birds that intake these toxic chemicals.
Dead birds were inspected and a high amount of Microplastics was found in their lungs bloodstream and other organs.
Are micro plastics harmful to humans?
The potential health effects of this contamination on people and human health are not fully known yet but certainly, worry health professionals around the world.
It is known, though, that Bisphenol A and pesticides are chemical additives present in specific plastics are known by health experts as causes of cancer and other health issues such as diabetes and liver functions with humans mainly as these particles have toxic effects and were found in the lungs, bloodstream, and feces of humans.
Surprising Facts About the Effects of Microplastics and Biodegradable Bags You Should be aware of
Microplastics from biodegradable bags are a new pandemic in our society. This is the reason for calls for environmental preservation have been raised on all international forums and environmental protection organizations such as the united nations.
That being said, the interesting facts of these things go even beyond just environmental protection and will be sure to make your head spin-off to other dimensions.
Mind-Boggling Facts About Micro Plastics and Biodegradable Bags:
Before we move on to the fascinating facts of micro-plastics and biodegradable bags, we first need to understand what they actually are. Their information is discussed briefly below:
- Microplastics – Regular plastics do not decompose; however, they break down to the point that they become too small to be seen by the naked eye, and thus, they become "micro." However, it should be noted that their impact is fundamentally the same, if not worse.
- Biodegradable bags – These bags may be made up of plastics or any other product. Generally, biodegradable means that these bags can decompose over time and become a part of the ecosystem as valuable constituents.
Now that we have understood what micro-plastics and biodegradable bags are let's move over to interesting facts about them.
Microplastics are present in living organisms, including you:
Since plastics have been used in the world for several decades now, it has become very common in the system. If your body is searched thoroughly, it would be no wonder for us to find a lot of micro-plastics in it.
- Microplastics would also be found in organisms that live in the depths of the dark ocean. Even the poop in your biodegradable doggy bags has micro-plastics in them.
- The concept behind it is pretty simple. Basically, plastic debris left on land broke down for several years to become part of the soil.
From there, it got into the crops that were grown on those soils, and from those crops, it reached humans and other animals. Moreover, most of the plastics end up in the ocean anyway, so it has entered marine life accordingly.
The impact of Microplastics pollution is even more dangerous than regular plastics pollution
While regular plastics are pretty dangerous, the potential dangers of micro-plastics are even greater. It should be noted that regular-sized plastics have not entered the ecosystem as a toxic constituent, whereas micro-plastics have. Much of the damage that is being done to marine life is the result of micro-plastics.
Though that does not mean regular plastics are not dangerous. Plastic bags have led to choking a lot of organisms and turning their life miserable, especially marine life.
Biodegradable Bags eventually become plant nutrients:
Biodegradable bags have a lot of variants, like eco-friendly poop bags, and have a lot of benefits for society. These bags do not end up like micro-plastics, but instead, they decompose into the soil and become an effective nutrient that the plant benefits from. The truth about biodegradable bags is quite fascinating because it is hard to fathom the fact that a material that's in a composable poop bag may one day become a part of a plant's composition and, from there yours.
The use of biodegradable bags will help reverse global warming:
Most of the bags used today are not biodegradable. As a result, they keep filling up in the landfills and the ocean with no place to go.
Other bags are considered biodegradable but they are made of plastic with an added chemical that accelerates the break down of the bags but leaves secondary micro-plastics behind
- Moreover, many of them are not recyclable, and if they are, the authorities and organizations are unable to take proper incentives.
- This is leading to a severe environmental impact by damaging the ecosystem and forcing more production of these products, leading to air pollution too.
On the other hand, using biodegradable bags will help solve this problem. Firstly, they will not pile up on the lands and in the ocean because they will eventually decompose and become helpful to the ecosystem. Moreover, if proper incentives are taken, the production can become quite eco-friendly.
Micro-plastics cover area of oceans and lakes even greater than continents:
This is probably the most surprising fact you will ever hear about micro-plastics. As you already know that most of the plastic waste ends up in the ocean, but do you know where they gather?
There are a lot of sites where age-old plastics gather, but one of them is the Pacific Ocean. That is probably the biggest plastic waste ocean-fill in the world that covers an area even larger than many big countries in the world and bigger than even some smaller continents. Mind-blowing, isn't it?
Since most of these plastics will indeed break up with time, they eventually turn into Microplastics.
Some variants of biodegradable bags are edible:
Many variants of biodegradable bags are being introduced into the market:
- Some concepts of biodegradable bags have been introduced that can be consumed by individuals. One of them was sealed water that you eat (actually drink) along with the bag.
- An organization came up with a biodegradable bag that is even soluble in water. In a demonstration, they immersed the bag in a glass of water and mixed it. The bag dissolved entirely. While it is a pretty good option, it is not good for areas with rains.
Not all biodegradable bags are edible, though. And please, do not try to eat your biodegradable dog poop bags.
Biodegradable dog poop bags are becoming exceedingly popular :
The truth about biodegradable bags has compelled organizations to come up with eco-friendly poop bags for pet owners since you have to clean poops of your pet every day, and using a non-biodegradable bag every day is no longer an option.
These bags are also called compostable poop bags, biodegradable doggy bags, or biodegradable dog poop bags. They must become the norm in the market. This is why the EU will completely ban biodegradable bags made of plastic from mid-2021.
Now that the truth about biodegradable bags, the trends, and the impacts of Microplastics and plastics in humans have been brought to light, you should really consider making them a part of your routine. You will really love the feeling of leaving zero waste behind you, as you will find no better eco-friendly poop bags or compostable poop bags for your pets and all kinds of other uses also.
Only bags that contain zero plastic are really eco-friendly. Such bags are made of plant-based cornstarch that dissolves within 90 days, leaving nothing behind but C02 and water.
This is the only solution to protect marine organisms, aquatic life, humans, and birds from the plastic contamination pandemic and well worth the minor effort.