Plastics disadvantages essay
The advantages of plastics : It is durable, low cost, water resistant, lesser energy and heavy chemicals requirements in manufacture and are light weight. Many studies comparing plastic versus paper for shopping bags show that plastic bags have less net environmental effect than paper bags, requiring less energy to produce, transport and recycle; however these studies also note that recycling rates for plastic are significantly lower than for paper.
Plastic carrier bags can be reused as trash bags or bin bags. Also, plastic bags are complimentary in many locations but are charged or "taxed" in others. The disadvantages of plastics : Plastics bags are make of a non-renewable resource, which gives us more reasons to use recyclable shopping bags. In the past, this substance was used in plastic tableware, water bottles, and sports equipment.
Phthalates soften the plastic to turn it into PVC. Both are considered to be endocrine disruptors that are toxic to the reproduction cycle of humans. Biodegradables eliminate these substances from being needed. Biodegradable plastics consume less energy during the manufacturing cycle. Although biodegradable plastics offer a slightly higher cost in the production cycle, we actually consume less energy to produce them.
We no longer need to go through the processes of finding, accessing, and transporting hydrocarbons to create plastic items using this technology. That means we are burning fewer fossil fuels, consuming less of them during the manufacturing process, and releasing fewer contaminants when the plastics reach their end-of-life stage.
Because of this energy savings, the long-term cost of using biodegradables could be substantially less than traditional plastics — especially if the cleanup costs from plastic pollution are added to that calculation. Biodegradable plastics reduce the amount of waste we produce. The remainder goes into landfills and other waste disposal programs, where it could take up space for more than a century. When facilities have the correct composting equipment available to manage biodegradable plastics, we can experience an entire breakdown of the product in months, depending on what method is used.
Even if a complete breakdown does not occur, we would achieve a reduction in the amount of space needed to dispose of the materials. That would create fewer pressures on the overall waste stream. Biodegradable plastics would direct petroleum consumption to other needs.
Traditional plastic products come from the heating and treatment of oil molecules. This process turns them into polymers that become useful for the industry. Biodegradables come from products like switchgrass or corn, which means we could redirect the petroleum being used by the industry to our transportation or heating needs instead. Biodegradable plastics can mix with traditional products. We do not need to make completely new products using biodegradable plastics to create an environmental benefit with this technology.
Once the natural materials are turned into polymers, they can work with the ones that were manufactured using oil molecules. That means we can mix the traditional manufacturing cycle with the natural one, reducing the percentage that comes from fossil fuels. When we create this mixture, the plastic products often have more strength as well. Biodegradable plastics require less energy during the manufacturing cycle. Biodegradable plastics could create new export industries.
In , China produced approximately , tons of biodegradable plastics.
They consumed about , tons domestically, and then exported the remainder during that year. Many of the mature markets for plastic products in the developed world are looking for ways to reduce their carbon and waste footprints. Switching to this product makes a lot of sense because it could eliminate the impact of pollution on the environment over time. Making biodegradables a top priority could become a moneymaking tool for the country that can perfect this technology first.
Biodegradable plastics create a new marketing platform. Organizations that adopt this product are often seen as being preferable because they are viewed as being concerned about the environment.
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That means shareholders, executives, and employees all stand to gain from the potential for higher profits. The Coca-Cola Company has already created a bio-plastic bottle that they can use with their beverages.
Poland Spring is reducing the number of plastic components that they use for their packaging needs. Making this switch could lead to significant changes in how people and other businesses see each other. Biodegradable plastics can decompose quickly in specific situations.
Bioplastics are generally compostable, which means they will decay into natural materials that will eventually blend harmlessly into the soil. Some of these biodegradable items can break down in a measurement timed in weeks instead of months or years. When the cornstarch molecules encounter water, then they slowly absorb it, swelling up to break the item into smaller pieces. Then the natural bacteria in the composting container digest it to produce something that can benefit the planet later on. You must pay attention to the quality and labeling of the bioplastic items upon purchase to ensure that you are using items that can decompose rapidly.
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Biodegradable plastics must follow a specific disposal procedure. We can definitely benefit from the presence of biodegradable plastics because they can decompose effectively in our environment without creating a pollutive effect. This advantage can only occur if the items are disposed of properly, meaning that these items must be treated in a manner that is similar to compost.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using plastics? - 09SciGJasBelle
If we throw out these plastics in the landfill last we would the traditional items, then they will follow a path that is similar to the non-biodegradable option. That is why we must be mindful of recycling programs and waste-reduction initiatives to ensure that we can all take advantage of the benefits that the natural products offer. Biodegradable plastics may contain small pieces of metal. Although the plastics in the items we use might be biodegradable when we use these technologies, some items especially plastic bags might release metals during the decomposition process.
The polyethylene created through the manufacturing cycle using natural items may contain high levels of manganese, which can stop breaking down when you begin the composting process for these items. The Guardian also reported in that one brand of biodegradable plastic contained high levels of lead and cobalt, which raised questions about the potential toxicity of what gets left behind after the decomposition process. Biodegradable plastics require the weather to cooperate with their disposal. A study commissioned by the Biodegradable Products Institute in the s found that the breakdown of these natural materials found in biodegradable plastic are exceptionally dependent on the weather conditions in the area.
Temperature and humidity play significant roles in the process.
Composting goes much slower when the weather turns colder. During times of high humidity, the process almost comes to a complete stop. That means many of the advantages that are possible with this product disappear in equatorial and far-northern climates.
Biodegradable plastics do not account for herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides and pesticides are not tracked by this industry, so there is no way to know what your exposure levels might be when you encounter these natural products. Even organic crops that are sent to the plastics industry can be sprayed with natural compounds that may offer health risks during times of high exposure. Unless we can eliminate chemicals from the entire manufacturing chain, there will always be a risk of pollution to consider with biodegradables. Biodegradable plastics may reduce the amount of recycling that we can do.
When we reduce the amount of traditional plastics that we use by mixing biodegradable molecules in with the oil-based ones, then it does create less of a dependence on petroleum.
22 Advantages and Disadvantages of Biodegradable Plastics
It also creates a unique disadvantage in the fact that our current technologies do not allow us to recycle these hybrid items once they reach their end-of-life cycle. They must be thrown into our landfills or other waste management systems. That means we are simply trading one issue for another until there is a better solution to find.