Review of biodegradable bags shows not enough is known to judge if they are safe for environment

phys.org | 5/23/2018 | Staff
camkizzle (Posted by) Level 3
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A team of researchers from the U.K. Austria and France has found that not enough work has been done to determine if biodegradable shopping bags are actually environmentally friendly. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the group describes their survey regarding biodegradable bag research efforts and what they found.

As the public has become aware of the ecological harm of plastic shopping bags, scientists have begun looking for suitable replacements. The result, in many instances, has been biodegradable bags. These bags, it is assumed, break down in landfills or in the open environment, and thus cause no harm. But the team wondered if this was really the case. To find out, they conducted a survey and review of work done by researchers to test such bags. They report that not nearly enough research has been done to demonstrate whether the bags are harmless or not.

Work - Bags - Claims - Researchers - Study

Work done to find out if biodegradable bags hold up to claims, the researchers suggest, was not only inconsistent, but was often poorly defined. For their study, they looked only at work done to find out if and how biodegradable bags actually degrade among bags that make it to the ocean. They report that many such studies were conducted only in labs, not ocean settings, which offered limited results. They also found that there were no real rules that defined what biodegradable really means. Does a bag have to degrade in a few weeks or months to qualify, or can it take a few years? The researchers found there was no consensus. They report also that there were no...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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