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Should we design biodegradable plastics?

Natural Scienc, Technologies

Thematic Area
Applied Chemistry, Green and sustainable Chemistry

This video of 47 minutes was developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry Science Policy Unit and explores current issues around plastic production, use, reuse and disposal.
The most interesting parts that we suggest to be used as teaching material are Andrew Dove’s presentation (time point 7:00 – 14:30) and Tamara Galloway’s presentation (time point 15.00-23.00).
The issue of Biodegradaple plastics is complex. As citizen awareness around sustainability is increasing, new plastics claiming to be more friendly for the environment are developed.
Through Andrew’s presentation, the chemical design for biodegradability, the effectiveness and speed of their degradation at open environment are discussed.
Tamara’s presentation focuses on the effect of microplastics produced by the degradation of biodegradable plastics, on wildlife and human health as well as the environment. As biodegradable plastics are part of a future circular system, their effect on tiny organisms that are found at the base of the food web are examined. The argument is made that science has to examine whether biodegradability is a useful safeguard for society’s imperfections in dealing with plastics.

Points of Strength
The point of strength of this video is that it focuses on biodegradable plastics discussing the both the positive as well as negative aspects and the worries concerning this new technological innovation. Another point of strength is that it is also presented at sign language.