Why biodegradable plastic is not the silver bullet for marine litter

Early 2016, Sirris devoted several papers to the recycling of plastics, the circular economy and bioplastics as a sustainable alternative to plastic waste. In this context, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) recently reported that biodegradable plastics are currently no solution to marine litter. In fact, it’s our waste management on land that should be improved in the first place.

In June 2016, the UNEP published their report on ‘marine plastics debris and microplastics’. Regarding biodegradable plastics, the report states that they can’t solve the problem of marine litter. European Bioplastics (EUBP) agrees and echoes the call for further research and the development of clear standards for biodegradation in marine environments. 

How to clear the ocean of plastics?                  

According to the report, the main solutions to the presence of plastics in our oceans is better waste collection and improved sorting and recycling, particularly in developing countries. Among other initiatives, the report refers to recent steps taken by Boyan Slat, with his ‘Cleanup Project’ as a great example. In addition, a holistic approach is becoming ever more essential to make our oceans a litter-free environment. The circular economy might be used as an inspirational framework.     

More on this subject? Click through to our Techniline platform and read the full article on fitting plastics into the circular economy. A must-read! (in French and Dutch)