“What we need is an end-of-life strategy,” said Narayan, “but all of this biodegradable stuff sounds good. The public loves it! But, I ask, in what environment will this degrade? Define environment. The word ’biodegradable’ means nothing.
“Time?” Narayan asked. Eventually it will biodegrade but when? Is some biodegradability better than nothing? No! There are serious health and environmental issues connected with biodegradability. It’s all or nothing—it must be defined in terms of the environment and time. Recycling and waste-to-energy are the best use of plastics—give up the biodegradability myth.”
It would appear that Professor Narayan is right given this most recent study by the University of Plymouth. I have to agree with him that all the time, effort and money being put into trying to make plastics disappear in the natural environment will be ultimately futile, which is one reason so many organizations are calling for the outright ban of plastics. Waste-to-energy (incineration) solves two problems with one solution: It produces energy in countries that need it and provides a way for the worst ocean polluters to dispose of their waste—plastics and other materials—in a way that is beneficial and captures value.