Biodegradable Products Destroying The Planet

Once thrown out, biodegradable products — everything from trash bags and diaper liners to pens— are designed to break down relatively quickly and disappear into the natural environment. But these products may not live up to their green image, new research indicates.

“The implication is, it’s biodegradable, therefore, it’s better for the environment  —  and our point is: Well, not necessarily and not so fast,” said study researcher Morton Barlaz, who heads North Carolina State University’s Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

These biodegradable products release a potent greenhouse gas, methane, as they break down in landfills, a problem aggravated by the relatively rapid rate at which they decompose.


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8 Responses to Biodegradable Products Destroying The Planet

  1. Ralph says:

    Another greenie fail.

  2. A K Haart says:

    “Their modeling experiment showed that materials with higher rates of decomposition, like food waste and PHBO, ultimately emitted more methane into the atmosphere.”

    Much better than a real experiment – so much easier to control the variables – or even invent some new ones.

  3. Dave G says:

    Whatever happened to test a product, before it goes to market!! No wonder we’re skeptics

  4. B.C. says:

    Bring on the Styrofoam®!! (It’ll lock up those pesky GHG’s for hundreds, if not MILLIONS, of years in landfills, thereby saving Mother Gaia from suffocating on them until she can recycle them back into her lava-filled womb and re-create more Eeeevil Oiiiiiil™ from those Olde Skoole Mickey D’s™ Big Mac® containers.)

    Trees: Mother Nature’s most reusable resource. (If you can get the EcoTards out of the way and cut them down.)

  5. bkivey says:

    Landfills are designed to prohibit degradation, specifically to prevent methane emission. So all those biodegradables, won’t.

    • brendan sexton says:

      Although designed to slow decomposition and limit methane production, in fact landfills are not especially successful at this and by most calculations are considered the fifth largest emitters of greehouse gases on earth. that is why there is a big push to capture the methane they produce (and would otherwise emit into the air, even if slowly) and use it as fuel-cutting our use of fossil fuels. this is a spreading practice and is a commercial business only because even if slowed down, the methane emissions from landfills are enormous, and constant enough to make these capture and use schemes profitable.

  6. DirkH says:

    …and California is just banning Styrofoam. Good timing, Mr. Brown!

  7. lexowanoh says:

    Interesting piece…

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