GREENWASHING & WHY WE’VE FALLEN FOR IT
We are all aware of the devastating affects plastic pollution has on our planet. We recycle, we save water, we say no to single-use traditional petroleum-based plastics (or at least we should be doing these things) and we hunt for environmentally-friendly products. We assume that green packaging and leaves must equal environmentally-friendly, and that’s exactly what manufacturers are hoping we do. This clever marketing technique is called Greenwashing, relying heavily on an assumed association, and it’s time we stopped falling for it.
Until now, not enough has been done to ensure that the terminology manufacturers use on their packaging matches the way that their products biodegrade, decompose and/or breakdown, so it’s been up to consumers to decipher what happens when throwing out the trash.
THE TRUTH ABOUT OXO-DEGRADABLE PLASTIC
Oxo-degradable plastic manufacturers have contributed to the confusion with claims that their plastics, which have been treated with an additive that imitates ‘biodegradability’. The US National Association for PET Container Resources (NAPCR) said there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that these additives have any beneficial effect on the environment, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concluded that the claims made are false and misleading. The European Commission has recommended EU-wide measures be taken against so-called ‘oxo-degradable‘ plastics. In a report published, the Commission said that “a process to restrict the use of oxo-plastics in the EU will be started”. European Bioplastics (EUBP), the association of the bioplastics industry in Europe, strongly welcomes a clear commitment to take action.
“EUBP has long been warning about the harmful effects of oxo-degradable plastics on the environment as well as the potential damage to the reputation and understanding of truly biodegradable plastics. Several cases of greenwashing and false claims have been reported over the past years that have lead to confusion about biodegradation in the general public,” says Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of EUBP.
WHAT HAPPENS TO OXO-DEGRADABLE PLASTIC
Partially biodegradable products cause irreparable harm to the environment. Although Oxo-degradable plastics will eventually break down, they will never return to a natural state. Instead, they fragment into microscopic plastic flakes. Out of sight does not mean out of our oceans or our food chain. These degraded microplastics migrate into the water table compartments of the ecosystem causing irreparable harm to the environment. Not only have microplastics been found in fish and shellfish, they have also been found in beer, honey, tap water, sugar and even air. Once these microplastics enter our water system, treatment facilities cannot break them down or filter them out.
WHY BONNIE BIO ARE DIFFERENT
Bonnie Bio’s certified compostable products are different. When our products break down, they breakdown consistently with other natural materials. At Bonnie Bio, we’re proud to say that our biobased certified compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives have been manufactured to comply with the international standards EN 13432, AS 5810, ASTM D6400, ASTM D6868 and carry the DIN CERTCO, CE, FDA and Seedling logos. We are the only company in South Africa to have international certifications.
To shop our range of certified compostable and biodegradable products, please click here.