All plastic is not alike.
Consumers have gotten somewhat familiar with what can or cannot be recycled. But few consumers understand what oxo biodegradable plastic is or the impact that it has on the environment.
Oxo Biodegradable Plastic (OBD) is a polyolefin plastic – a type of transparent plastic often with an oily or waxy feel to it – that’s had small catalytic amounts of metal salts and/or heavy metals added to it.
According to the Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association, “until the plastic has degraded, it has the same strength, impermeability, printability and other characteristics of normal plastic.”
This statement, however, is misleading. The nature of oxo biodegradable plastic is that it begins to break down almost from the point of its manufacture. This is what gives it a limited shelf life. Manufacturers have tried to combat this by adding anti-oxygen components to the plastic. This, however, weakens the polymer and ends up contaminating the recycling stream. Also these salts and metals are inorganic materials and, because they don’t break down, will remain in the soil or environment long after the material itself breaks down.
This type of plastic poses a real hazard to the environment. Its components break down in fragments, small pieces that are often mistaken by animals for food. There’s no real scientific evidence that small microbes are breaking the plastic down to its natural elements.
ENSO plastic bottles are more environmentally-friendly.
ENSO’s additive is comprised of organic renewable sources. The additive doesn’t react to anything in the plastic, allowing it to retain its original strength, rather than breaking down when exposed to light or oxygen as oxo biodegradable plastic does.
ENSO bottles only begin to break down when placed in a dirt or some other microbial environment that allows microbes to colonize on the plastic, utilizing it as a food source then beginning the process of breaking it down to its basic components of biogas and biomass. ENSO bottles can also safely be integrated into the recycling stream without any worries of contaminating it.
The difference between plastics can be both simple and profound. The type you use can either have a negative impact on the environment such as with oxo biodegradable plastic or a more neutral impact as with ENSO bottles.
Which one you choose makes a difference.