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It is no secret that plastic pollution has had a devastating effect on our planet. It takes hundreds of years to decompose and when it does eventually break down, it turns into tiny little pieces known as microplastics. Microplastics are now found everywhere – including our digestive tracts.

With a growing awareness around the damage that plastic can cause, many people have started to look for a substitute to traditional plastic packaging, opting instead for recycled, degradable, biodegradable and compostable alternatives.

In this article, we take a look at the different ways you can choose to ‘go green’ and why compostable alternatives to plastic are leading the way in the fight to save the future of our planet.

Recycled plastic

More than six million tons of plastic waste were produced between 1950 and 2015 and only 9% of that was recycled. Although recycling efforts have increased in recent years, so too has the amount of plastic being produced.

Although many types of plastics can be recycled, some cannot and plastic cannot be recycled indefinitely. This is because the process degrades the quality of the final product. This means that, eventually, even recycled plastic will end up as waste.

Degradable plastic

Degradable plastic uses chemical additives, which allows the material to break down faster than standard plastic usually would.

In other words, plastic touted as ‘degradable’ definitely is not beneficial and can even be worse for the environment in some senses than traditional plastics.

This is because, when degradable plastic decomposes, it releases harmful nano- and micro-plastics into the environment, which tend to harm rather than help the effort to prevent plastic pollution.