Michael Stephen Column

Toxicity of Bio-based and Biodegradable Plastics, and Covid Scaremongering (FREE)

Michael Stephen, an international expert on bioplastics, shares his thoughts and opinion on important issues impacting the bioplastics industry. Today, Michael writes about the Toxicity of Bio-based and Biodegradable Plastics and Covid Scaremongering. This is a free Article.

Plastics Today

An interesting article on 7th November:

“For the anti-plastics crowd who look to bioplastics to save the world from “toxic” plastic pollution, I have some bad news: “Bio-based and biodegradable plastics are not any safer than other plastics,” writes Lisa Zimmermann, lead author of the article, “Are bioplastics and plant-based materials safer than conventional plastics?” The study was produced by a team at Goethe Universität in Frankfurt, Germany.

While nearly all brand owners in the world are committing themselves to biobased plastic that they hope will be the compostable “green” answer to plastic pollution, this new study shows that bioplastics are, in fact, just as toxic as other plastics,” according to the study first published in the journal “Environment International.” The study, released in October, garnered a lot of attention from numerous scientific and consumer publications.

Those who push bioplastics want us to believe they are a healthier alternative to conventional plastics, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  We in the plastics industry need to address the unintended consequences and debunk the non-scientific myths surrounding the use of bioplastics that detractors of conventional plastics want to use to rid the world of one of the most beneficial materials humankind has ever known. Now, we’re finally getting some help from the scientific/academic community.”

To this it should be added that there is no point in “compostable” plastic at all, because it does not convert into compost.  It converts into CO2, and if you can collect a piece of plastic there are better things to do with it than turn it into a greenhouse gas. Also, this type of plastic should not be described as biodegradable – because it is tested to biodegrade in the special conditions found in a composting facility, not in the open environment. Nor is it “renewable” or “sustainable” if you consider the fossil resources used and CO2 emitted in the agricultural production and polymerisation process.  The farmers don’t plough their fields and pull their carts with horses any more.

New Study on Bioplastics

Anderson & Shenkar (Environmental Pollution 268 (2021) 115364) – 20th August 2020

“Inside compost facilities, bioplastics that comply with the EN 13432:2000 international

standard biodegrade almost completely within 180 days. However, outside compost facilities,

and specifically in marine environments, these bioplastics may have a similar effect to that of fossil-fuel based plastics.

Both PET and PLA microparticles reduced the fertilization rate of Microcosmus exasperatus, with no significant difference between materials. Accumulation rates in adult M. exasperatus exposed to micronized PET and PLA particles at two concentrations were similar for both the bioplastic material and the conventional plastic particles, with no significant difference between the two materials.”

Covid-Alarming Statistics

At the beginning of November, the UK was “locked-down” again, but why?

95.6% of those who have died “from COVID” had a serious pre-existing medical condition – and sometimes more than one.

53.7% of deaths “from COVID” were people aged over 80!

Despite this, the average death-rate for people aged over 75 was significantly lower this October than last October.

A person killed in a road accident is recorded as a COVID death if he had tested positive for COVID within the past 28 days.

So what is going on? What is the real reason for the “lock-down”? The UK government urges us all to “work together” as if that were an end in itself.  Work together for what?  – to destroy the economy and to drive thousands of people into despair and bankruptcy?

If you challenge governments today on COVID (or on plastic) and on the vast financial sacrifices they are demanding, the zealot’s answer is to invoke the “precautionary principle” – the perils are so great they will always say, that we must err on the side of caution.  So, you don’t need a solid case – all you need to do is to scare people.

The people of the UK are not the fools the government imagines them to be, and they will soon stop obeying a government which makes hugely damaging decisions on a completely inadequate basis.  It seems to be the same in many countries around the world.  We have all become characters in a novel by Kafka, who face situations that are disorienting and illogically complex in a surreal and nightmarish way.

Michael Stephen

Michael Stephen is a lawyer and was a member of the United Kingdom Parliament, where he served on the Environment Select Committee. When he left Parliament Symphony Environmental Technologies Plc. attracted his attention because of his interest in the environment. He is now Deputy Chairman of Symphony, which is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange, and is the founder and Chairman of the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association.

Earlier Postings in this Column

Interview with Michael Stephen


The opinions expressed here by Michael Stephen and other columnists are their own, not those of Bioplasticsnews.com.

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