Conventional plastic is made from oil. The production of plastic is not sustainable, and it can contain substances we know are dangerous if ingested.
In recent years, bioplastics have come onto the market as an alternative to conventional plastic. Bioplastic has some apparent advantages: it is usually made from recycled material or plant cellulose, it can be biodegradable – or both.
But a new study shows that it is not non-toxic.
Bioplastics are in fact just as toxic as other plastics, according to an article recently published in Environment International.
“Bio-based and biodegradable plastic are not any safer than other plastics,” says Lisa Zimmermann from Goethe Universität in Frankfurt. She is the lead author of the recent article.
Zimmermann points out that products based on cellulose and starch contained the most chemicals. They also triggered stronger toxic reactions under laboratory conditions.
“Three out of four of these plastic products contain substances that we know are dangerous under laboratory conditions, the same as for conventional plastic,” says Martin Wagner, associate professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s Department of Biology.
Wagner is one of the collaborators for PlastX, a research group at the Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung (ISOE) in Frankfurt.
This group has just led the work on the largest survey to date of chemicals in bioplastics and plastics made from plant-based materials.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 23 October 2020