Unlike the natural alternatives, plastics can be recycled. A decade ago, recycling only made sense for post-industrial waste. Now it is possible to recycle post-consumer waste as well. In the early 1950s, plastic was celebrated as the wonder material. Cheap, flexible, and strong, it was touted as the next big thing and had millions of uses. As the packaging industry expanded, plastic was widely adopted as the reasonable option. But how is plastic actually better for the environment?
Negative impact on the environment
It’s important to remember that plastic production has a negative environmental impact. While it’s a good invention, it can take four to 1000 years to degrade in landfills. Furthermore, 91% of plastic is never recycled, making it one of the most polluting industries in the world. Even worse, many of these materials are not even biodegradable. In addition, they can leach chemicals into your food.
Single-use plastic alternatives are also an environmentally-friendly option. These bags can biodegrade in approximately 90 days. These materials cannot be composted in backyards, but can be composted in an industrial facility. Another green alternative to plastic is casein, a protein found in milk. This protein can be used to make packaging that is sustainable and edible. By contrast, plastic food wrap cannot be recycled or biodegrade and leaches chemicals into your food.