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What Kind of Plastic Bag Is Really Environmentally Friendly?

Aug. 05, 2020
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The plastic bags that we use casually every day have caused serious problems and burdens on the environment.

If you want to replace general plastic bags by choosing some "degradable" plastic bags, the following concepts about degradable plastic bags will help you make the right environmental choice!

Perhaps you have discovered that there are some "degradable plastic bags" on the market. You might think that plastic bags with the word "degradable" should be degradable and environmentally friendly. However, this is not the case. First of all, only when plastic bags can eventually become non-polluting substances such as water and carbon dioxide, can they be truly environmentally friendly bags. There are mainly several types of "environmentally friendly" plastic bags on the market: degradable plastic bags, biodegradable plastic bags, and compostable bags.

Compostable Bags

Compostable Bag

The polymer in the plastic bag is partially or completely damaged due to ultraviolet radiation, oxidation corrosion, and biological corrosion. This means changes in properties such as fading, surface cracking, and fragmentation. The biochemical process in which organic matter in plastic bags is completely or partially converted into water, carbon dioxide/methane, energy and new biomass under the action of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi). Plastic bags can be biodegraded under the special conditions and time scale of high-temperature soils, and usually require industrial composting to achieve better degradation efficiency.

From the above three perspectives, only biodegradable or compostable plastic bags are truly "environmental protection"!

The first type of "degradable" plastic bags specifically includes "photodegradation" or "thermal oxygen degradation. In the end, they can only turn plastic bags into small plastic fragments, which is not conducive to the recycling and cleaning of plastics, but also fragmented plastics. Entering the environment will cause more pollution problems. Therefore, this "degradable" plastic bag is not environmentally friendly, and it has also caused much opposition in the industry.

Photodegradable plastics: plastics that are degraded by natural light; light belongs to ultraviolet radiation, which can only cause partial or complete damage to the polymer.

Thermal oxidative degradation plastics: plastics that are degraded by heat and/or oxidation; thermal-oxidative degradation belongs to oxidative corrosion, which can only cause partial or complete damage to the polymer. Therefore, learn to distinguish different degradable plastic bags in case of an emergency!

Formally produced plastic bags must be marked in accordance with the standards and materials used. Among them: the recycling mark indicates that the plastic bag can be recycled and reused; 04 in the recycling mark is a special recycling digital identification for low-density polyethylene (LDPE); under the recycling mark> PE-LD< indicates the production material of plastic bags; "GB/T 21661-2008" on the right side of the word "plastic shopping bag" is the production standard complied by plastic shopping bags.

Therefore, when purchasing a biodegradable or compostable plastic bag, you first need to check whether there is a plastic bag logo required by the country under the bag. Then, judge according to the plastic bag production materials under the environmental protection label. The commonly used biodegradable or compostable plastic bag materials are PLA, PBAT, etc.

Use the used plastic bag as much as possible and try to use it as much as possible before discarding it!


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