The future is bright, the future is compostable!

CuanTec has been lucky enough to be invited to many recent forums for discussion about environmental matters, circular economy and also the very prominent issues around plastic pollution.

Plastic pollution is not an issue that can be swept under the landfill for much longer. We need to ALL discuss, air and educate on this.

Petroleum based plastic is a permanent toxin for the environment unless it is burnt – and that is a process that requires specialist supervision and attention to ensure that toxic gases are not released into the atmosphere.

If plastic goes into landfill, it sits there doing not a lot, often wrapped around food scraps, preventing the natural process of breakdown for the contents. Eventually it will decompose and begin to degrade – the time length being dependent on the type of plastic, the heat, the opportunity for exposure to sunlight.

Given our changing climate there is the risk that plastic buried in landfill could be washed out unexpectedly into rivers and find its way into the wider environment or oceans.

The breakdown process can and will only result in microplastic – it will not be absorbed into the soil, it will not sustain growth of plants or replenish the world.

Microplastic is fragments of plastic, sometimes microscopic in size, but often a couple of millimetres in diameter. It is small enough to be eaten by fish even by krill and plankton. It is already finding its way into almost all sea life, with almost all fish containing microplastic in their guts.

There is a growing pool of evidence that microplastic can cause reaction in the human immune system. Could this be one of the triggers of IBS?

Even if plastic is properly disposed of, not all countries or locations have the infrastructure required to handle the recycling process. Europe isn’t perfect on this, but it is leagues better than areas with less sophisticated infrastructure.

There are some excellent projects on-going that take plastic and creates useful new products. Trainers, roads and jewellery are among the most obvious and popular new destinations. Even if recycling is possible and available there is a finite number of times that repurposing is possible – eventually the threat of breakdown into microplastic.

Instead we believe that all food packaging should be compostable. It should be able to breakdown easily and bring nutrients back to the environment. Composting solves many problems – food packaging doesn’t need to be washed off and can be put into the composting bin along with the food scraps. It would also make the handling of waste management issues much easier.  If it has touched food, then it must be compostable. Non-compostable plastic caught up in the compostable stream could be extracted later, when it doesn’t decay.

Check this out for more plastic statistics information :