Plastic plays an important role in our lives due to its ability to be functional in a number of different ways from plastic water bottles do the rubber on car tires. It seems as if everything is made of plastic in this day and age, but what happens once the consumers are done with the product? Statistics Canada showed in that 2012 Canadians produced, on average, 13.4 million tonnes of waste, 73% of which were sent for disposal. Of the 27% of waste that was recycled, a mere 17% of plastics was recycled properly, while the rest was sent to landfills. (Babooram & Wang, 2013). Improper disposal is a problem because plastic, once placed in a landfill it is unable fully break down (Platt, 2001). The logical solution for the plastics in landfills unable to degrade is to use biodegradable plastics. However, are biodegradable plastics the answer to society’s addiction to plastic? Arguments have been made on whether the pros of biodegradable plastics outweigh the cons and whether their usage will truly make a difference in our world.
The results from the survey; Biodegradable plastics, showed that most people are not knowledgeable about biodegradable plastics but did their best to be environmentally conscious. The survey showed those who knew the definition to biodegradable were more environmentally conscious and had more knowledge on this subject. A trend in the survey was the older the age group the more knowledgeable they were about biodegradable plastics. A general trend in the survey showed that many were surprised to learn that biodegradable plastics placed in landfills will not degrade. They also did not know that biodegradable plastics cannot be recycled with regular plastics and will be sorted out to be sent to the landfills. The results of the survey show that many try their best to be environmentally conscious but did not always realise that their actions were not reflecting their intentions and could potentially be doing more harm than good.
Polymers are molecules consisting of many smaller repeating monomer units. Plastic such as plastic water bottles are made from a simple addition polymer, polyethene (van Kessel et al., 2003). There are many types of addition polymers such as polyethene terephthalate or PET and polypropene. (van Kessel et al., 2003). Different types of plastics can be formed from different polymers with various reactants, for example polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used for insulating electrical wires and coating on fabrics (van Kessel et al., 2003). Regular plastics are chemically unreactive, thus their extensive use in everyday life, but what happens once they reach the landfill? Their unreactive properties come from carbon-carbon double bonds that are hard to break (van Kessel et al., 2003). Due to their unreactivity regular plastics cannot break down into simpler parts, this means plastic can sit in a landfill and never fully degrade ("Biodegradable plastics:...