Genius green plastics

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Currently, humans absorb an estimated five grams of plastic every week, which is about the size of a credit card. It’s in our foods, it’s in the water we drink, and it’s in the air we breathe. The main sources of these tiny particles of plastic known as microplastics, which are invisible to the human eye. Textiles, tires, and city dust combined make up 80 percent of the microplastics that we consume. Plastic is a cheap, durable, lightweight, and malleable material with practically unlimited applications, and it is being used in just about everything. The more plastic is used, the more difficulties it’s creating. As plastic has become more and more popular over time, its disadvantages have started to outweigh its benefits. A lot of awareness has spiked around microplastics, and new studies have helped to provide key information to aid decision makers and stakeholders in coming up with solutions to “turn off the (fossil fuel generated) plastic tap.” (

Poorly managed waste and littering are the most common ways that plastics get into our rivers and oceans. Once there, the constant movement of marine environments causes the plastics to break down into particles that are less than five millimeters in size. A study in 2017 found that the amount of plastic produced since its invention in the 1950s has been over 8 billion tons, and only an estimated nine percent of it has actually been recycled and/or reused. There is so much microplastic in our oceans today that they are actually known as “plastic soup.” The integration of plastic into almost every aspect of human existence, from tires, to cosmetics, to nail polish, to cleaning products, is not expected to go away, and is, in fact, expected to continue to rise as developing nations grow their economies, a process in which plastic plays a huge role. This means that we cannot actually turn off the plastic tap, because it’s here to stay. The solution is going to have to be that we completely change what’s coming out of the tap.

Green plastics, also known as bioplastics, are natural plastics that are manufactured from plants and fungi. They’re considered “green,” or environmentally friendly, because not only are they produced in less toxic ways than fossil fuel plastics, but they also cannot break down into microplastics, because they actually have the ability to break down completely into compostable, organic matter. The plastic tap needs to switch to this kind of plastic wherever possible. According to European Bioplastics, packaging is the largest field of application for bioplastics, with 48 percent of the total bioplastic market in 2022. Their data analysis also shows that the uptake of bioplastic materials are increasing, such as consumer goods, applications in automotive and transportation, and construction material.

When bioplastics are created, approximately 80 percent fewer greenhouse gasses are used than conventional plastics, in which their production and extraction methods are posing environmental and severe health risks. Bioplastics can be composted by industrial compost facilities, while conventional plastics, if they aren’t contaminated with food, are grouped with landfill and incineration. Only a small fraction of plastic packaging is truly recycled; we must become more aware of this rampant issue.