Growing Tips

The research is in and Biodegradable grow bags work!

That is the headline you are seeing online now but is that true?

If you did not know there has been a question in the industry about biodegradable grow bags. People wondered if they would really break down, and if so how fast and how well.

Well, research was conducted on the type of plastic that is used in these bags and it offers proof of their effectiveness. The research also points to the best methods to aid the breakdown process.

To sum up the research for you quickly (then you can read more).

´Over the past few years, the Oxo-Biodegradable Plastics Association (OPA; London) has been fighting for recognition by the EU for its member companies’ right to be a viable part of the circular economy, not part of an overarching ban. It was understandably frustrated by the passage on March 27, 2019, of a law banning single-use plastics in the European Union. The Single-Use Plastics Directive confuses oxo-biodegradable with oxo-degradable plastics, a persistent misunderstanding. Oxo-biodegradable plastics have even gotten pushback from the bioplastics industry, which claims that they will contribute to more waste in the environment.

The oxo-biodegradable industry is fighting back, citing many years of testing and studies showing that the oxo-biodegradable additive helps plastics that escape into the environment degrade much faster than ordinary plastics. Oxo-degradable plastic, on the other hand, is essentially ordinary plastic that degrades and fragments into smaller and smaller pieces but does not break down at the molecular or polymeric level. Thus, explains information from the OPA, it does not biodegrade except over a very long period of time.

In November 2018, UK-based Symphony Environmental Technologies welcomed a report from a distinguished lawyer and former Deputy Judge of the High Court in England, Peter Susman, QC, that declared the scientific case for oxo-biodegradable technologies to be “clear and compelling.””

Source: https://www.plasticstoday.com/sustainability/k-2019-setting-record-straight-on-oxo-biodegradable-plastics

“Oxo-degradable plastics are conventional polymers (e.g. LDPE) to which chemicals are added to accelerate the oxidation and fragmentation of the material under the action of UV light and/or heat, and oxygen.1 The oxidation process enables a faster conversion of polymers into fragments.”

Source: https://ecostandard.org/wp-content/uploads/oxo-statement.pdf

At first glance, one might think that breaking down larger molecules into smaller ones is a positive thing. But the jury is still out. I have to applaud the efforts of Unicorn Bags for taking a powerful step in this direction. It appears that like with all things in science more research is needed or recommended. However, with the World of business and politics, it is hard to say which study or lobbyist is correct. All signs I see the point to this being a powerful step in the right direction.

The faster breakdown of plastics is moving in the right direction. Again, several sources feel that science is already compelling. It also appears that sunlight can rapidly speed up this process.

If you are concerned with grow bags for growing mushrooms having an impact on the environment this may be something to test and look into. MushroomMediaOnline.com keeps some biodegradable bags in supply for testing purposes, and as an authorized distributor applauds the efforts of Unicorn Bags and their work in this area.

Watch a plastic bag degrade.

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