Today on Valentine’s day 2019, marine biodegrade plastic does not exist. Therefor, forget about all the marketing on biodegradable plastics, there is no certified marine biodegradable plastic, period. So what does this mean?
Well that means that all biodegradable plastic at sea will stay there for a long time. According to this article in The Guardian, biodegradable plastic bags survived 3 years in soil and sea. That is long enough to be eaten by fish, birds, turtles and plankton. Long enough for us BarcelonaSail to fish it out during our plastic fishing events. And when we try to fish out the biodegradable plastic, it breaks into smaller pieces. So now we need catch all the plastic pieces, creating more plastic pollution. For our plastic fisher men and women that is no fun.
Marine biodegradable plastic does not exist. We do not like the term “biodegradable” at all, because it is not protected. In other words the label “biodegradable” is not protected. There are no rules and certifications, everybody can call their product biodegradable. Why? Because if you wait long enough 400 years or more, all things will decay, decompose or rot in nature, and are hence “biodegradable”.
The term biodegradable plastic creates a lot of confusion and gives a false sense of buying something environmentally friendly. So we say, just stay away from single-use-plastic. Save your yourself a headache on finding out which single use plastic bags is environmentally correct.
And of top of that you always contribute more to the global warming by using single use plastic than by using using a multi use plastic. Save time and money and buy multi use bags, coffee cups and water bottles.
Although the term “biodegradable” is not protected, there are semi governmental institutes that issue certifications for biodegradable plastics in Europe and the Untied States. At the moment there are 8 different certificates in Europe for biodegradable plastic.
What are the difference between these 8 certificates for biodegradable plastics? Well it comes down to how fast the plastic degrades and under what conditions the plastics decay, decompose and rot.
The 8 different European biodegradable plastics certificates are called:
- OK compost industrial
- OK compost home
- OK biodegradable soil
- OK biodegradable water
- OK biodegradable marine
- OK biobased
- NEN bio-based content
In this article about biodegradable plastic in restaurants we describe the differences between of the certificates.
As of today, the marine biodegradable plastic certificate has not been issued. In 2020 a Finnish company called Sulapac is expecting to receive the first OK biodegradable marine certificate.
At the moment there are a few plastics that do decompose fast and in way that actually is beneficial to nature. However only under certain, almost laboratory conditions with elevated temperatures and certain moist and oxygen settings.
Having questions on single use plastics, biodegradable plastics, and you are the owner of a restaurant than you should read the next blog. Single use biodegradable plastic in restaurants.