By Clarice Ng
IYAC is no different. Over the past months, we have been reading up more about what goes on behind biodegradable plastic packaging, and whether it might be worth exploring into, moving forward.
Here are 5 surprising truths we never knew about biodegradable plastic packaging: -
1. Biodegradable plastic wastes only make a difference when they are buried in landfills.
Almost all of Singapore’s waste is incinerated, and biodegradable plastics often end up in the incinerator like all other plastic wastes. What came as a surprise to us was that studies have shown no significant difference in the environmental impact between incinerating biodegradable plastics and conventional plastics.
2. It might be more expensive (or even detrimental) to incinerate biodegradable plastics.
Biodegradable materials require very specific conditions in order to properly break down, and many of such conditions cannot be provided by the natural environment. Meaning, more resources are in turn used to create these conditions for incineration. Furthermore, when these specific conditions are not adequately met, biodegradable materials do not fully breakdown, resulting in even more serious pollution.
3. Some biodegradable plastics that do not break down completely may cause even greater environmental harm.
Oxo-degradable plastics (a type of biodegradable plastic) fragment into smaller microplastics that are commonly left in the environment indefinitely, resulting in microplastic pollution. Because of the severe environmental impact of microplastic pollution, the European Union (EU) came to a decision to ban the use of oxo-degradable plastics, together with single-use plastics, by 2021.
4. Biodegradable plastics could interfere with the recycling process when mixed with conventional plastics.
Did you know that there are 7 types of conventional plastics, and that not all of them can be incinerated or recycled the same way? Throw in the biodegradable plastics and it gets even more confusing. Mistakenly melting one wrong plastic with the rest may ruin the entire plastic recycling production.
5. Biodegradable plastics may require more resources in production.
A 2010 study from the University of Pittsburgh found that the production of biodegradable plastics resulted in higher carbon footprints and environmental pollutants, largely because high amounts of fertilizers and pesticides are used in producing the raw materials required, and harsh chemicals are often required to turn these materials into usable plastic.
The road to sustainable beauty is a long one, and we are taking baby steps to learn how we can continuously do better in that aspect while not compromising on the quality and freshness of our products – all of which do not contain parabens or preservatives. These need to be well-packed in materials that do not degrade when they come into contact with the active ingredients in our skincare products. Apart from materials that are in direct contact with our products, we have always been mindful to keep packaging minimal; which is why none of our products come with external boxes or plastic wrapping.
Although it seems like plastic packaging is here to stay (for a while, at least), know that all the plastic bottles we use at IYAC are recyclable, so do consciously toss them into the recycling bins when you can. Be sure to rinse out the bottles before that though! 😉
Did you know?
Since 1st April 2020, IYAC is certified by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This means that for each and every IYAC product out there, there has been no animal testing! Half of our full skincare range is also completely vegan, and do not contain animal by-products.