Ebb79379 ac10 456b 85f3 721ab52fa956 1 201 a By Olivia Thomas
January 24, 2020

Pros and cons of biodegradable plastics (bioplastics)

From Tapp Water

What are the pros and cons of biodegradable plastics? Are biodegradable plastics (bioplastics) good for the planet? Are the waste management systems prepared for biodegradable plastic waste? How fast do biodegradable plastics break down? We’ve spent a lot of time researching and pondering these topics. In this blog we will attempt to answer the most common questions on use of bioplastics.

Could we give up single use plastic?

  • The best thing would be if we could simply give up single-use plastics. Refuse, reduce and reuse should always be the priority. Examples of success in reducing use of plastic include charging for or banning plastic bags as there are good alternatives 
  • making customers ask for straws for drinks in fast food places 
  • reducing plastic packaging of fruit and vegetables in grocery stores 
  • drinking tap water or filtered tap water in restaurants when served for free. 

But for every success story there are 10 failures.

Changing behaviour to reduce plastic use is hard

To change behaviour in a way that is perceived as worse or a sacrifice is hard though. Generally humans don’t like change.

Pros and cons of biodegradable plastics (bioplastics)

Here are a few examples of refusing and reducing plastic that have proven to be difficult 

  • switching from paper-plastic diapers to cloth diapers 
  • drinking tap water in places where it doesn’t taste particularly good (e.g. Brighton, Barcelona or Dallas) 
  • bringing a refillable cup for the morning coffee takeout place 
  • avoiding takeout places with plastic containers. 

These changes require effort or even sacrifice by people. Therefore only the most passionate environmental supporters make the change.

Simply put most people will only change behaviour if everyone else does or if it’s convenient.

This is why TAPP Water chose to use biodegradable plastics for the filter cartridges for TAPP 2. We believe that it’s the easiest way to get people to give up bottled water in an environmentally friendly way.

How can we avoid bad plastics with minimal effort?

This is where biodegradable plastics can play an important role. Instead of giving up e.g. straws, single use cups or water filters we replace the existing products with something similar. The only decision or change required is to make select products with biodegradable plastic.

What are biodegradable plastics made of?

Generally bioplastics are made of corn starch, cooking oil, algae or sugar although there are lots of other materials.