"Biodegradable" plastics: more harm than help, says new report

Plastic bottles and garbage waste from a village in Timor-Leste wash on the shores of a river and then spill into the sea. UN Photo/Martine Perret

Biodegradable plastics are thought by most to be good for the environment, but the opposite may be true.

That's the startling conclusion of a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report entitled: "Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter: Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments."

UNEP estimates that as much as 20 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the world's seas and oceans every year, and people disposing of plastic labelled biodegradable, are simply adding to the problem, according to the report.

Matthew Wells spoke to Peter Kershaw, the reports lead-author, and asked him what value the term biodegradable really had, set against conventional plastic products.

Duration: 3'52"

Filed under Today's Features.
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