Are we being deceived? Study reveals that ecological plastic bags continue to cause damage to the environment

Since we are using biodegradable bags we feel much more confident that the damage we do to the world is less, until we read that the results are quite hopeless after a three-year experiment, carried out by the International Marine Garbage Research Unit of the University of Plymouth.

Biodegradable' bag after 3 years. Image: Twitter
Biodegradable' bag after 3 years. Image: Twitter

"My 3-year experiment has come out today! This is a biodegradable plastic bag after 3 years in the marine environment and can carry a bag full of purchases. The biodegradable/compostable elements do not necessarily decompose rapidly in natural environments such as the ocean," Imogen Napper, the scientist who led the research, shared on her Twitter account.

The impressive thing is that the bag is still intact, except for a small change of color.

The result of the study gives an unprecedented account and for the first time that neither the compostable bags nor two forms of biodegradable bags and even the conventional transport bags after extensive exposure to complex conditions, in the sea, air and land decompose completely.

Individual results

According to the work of the International Marine Garbage Research Unit, which the UK newspaper The Guardian cites, only the compostable bag seems to have had a better result. After reviewing the samples, it was established that after three years, the biodegradable bags that had been buried in the ground and in the sea, could be taken to go shopping. In the case of the compostable bag, after 27 months buried, it looked complete but could not hold any weight without tearing.

Despite the results, the researchers say that more work is needed to establish what decomposition products are and to consider the possible environmental consequences, raising the question of whether biodegradable formulations can be relied upon to offer a degradation rate sufficiently advanced and, therefore, a realistic solution to the problem of plastic garbage.

The researcher in charge of the project, Dr. Napper, said after reviewing the samples that "after three years, I was very surprised that any of the bags could still carry a large number of purchases. For biodegradable bags to be able to do that was the most surprising thing. When I see something labeled that way, I think it automatically assumes that it will degrade more quickly than conventional bags. But, after at least three years, our investigation shows that it may not be the case".

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