"To start dealing with Australia’s mounting plastic crisis, the federal
government last week launched its first National Plastics Plan.
The plan will fight plastic on various fronts, such as banning plastic on
beaches, ending polystyrene packaging for takeaway containers, and phasing in
microplastic filters in washing machines. But we’re particularly pleased to see
a main form of biodegradable plastic will also be phased out.
Biodegradable plastic promises a plastic that breaks down into natural
components when it’s no longer wanted for its original purpose. The idea of a
plastic that literally disappears once in the ocean, littered on land or in
landfill is tantalising — but also (at this stage) a pipe dream.
“Biodegradable” suggests an item is made from plant-based materials. But this
isn’t always the case.
A major problem with “biodegradable” plastic is the lack of regulations or
standards around how the term should be used. This means it could, and is,
being used to refer to all manner of things, many of which aren’t great for the
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics