While the validity of biodegradable plastics and whether they truly are better for the environment has always been uncertain, a new study is showing that plastic items that break down and biodegrade are actually harming the environment more than we may think.
No, biodegradable plastics aren’t a hoax, unlike poop burgers. However, a recent study has shown that when these items (typically utensils, plates and bowls) break down, they emit methane, a highly potent and polluting greenhouse gas.
You probably carry a reusable coffee up around with you quite often, don’t you? If so, don’t scowl when I make this off-the-wall suggestion. Actually, don’t scowl if you don’t carry one, either. Just don’t scowl at this, that’s all I’m trying to say. Consider keeping a reusable utensil set in your purse, briefcase or car for when you’re dining at a place that uses plasticware. At first this did sound weird to me, but then I remembered I sometimes carry unused condiment packs in my purse for days or weeks at a time because I forget to put them in my refrigerator.
Simple efforts to choose reusable items as much as possible can make a significant difference, especially when the disposable option emits something as dangerous as methane. While some landfills have systems to capture methane and turn it into usable energy, most of them don’t, and it’s better to not emit any in the first place.
Reusable utensil set in my purse? Don’t mind if I do, as long as I remember to wash it when I get home.
Image CC licensed by Joost J. Bakker IJmuiden: plastic