- “Are You Eating Plastic for Dinner?” (3D animation from National Geographic)
Although the video is accurate regarding plastics and their effects, toward the end it does mention two topics worth further debate. First, it recommends using paper or cloth bags. However, paper bags use more energy–usually fossil fuel-based–than plastic bags to be produced. Although it is slightly more preferable to use paper bags than plastic, it is far better to simply regularly reuse cloth bags rather than repeatedly consuming paper bags, which will also cost energy to be recycled over and over.
The video also mentions the existence of bioplastics as an avenue of hope. There is nothing particularly “bio” about bioplastics, however. Bioplastics are made from crops, but they do not differ in any way from plastics derived from fossil fuels. They do not degrade into the environment better and are not “healthier”. Producing bioplastics from crops not only incurs the same costs of waste as regular plastic, but is an energy-intensive process that also uses land that can be used for growing food. Again, regularly reusing cloth bags rather than repeated consumption of disposable bags is a far better choice.