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According to a recent study from Michigan State University, additives mixed into biodegradable packaging do not break down plastic faster.

The three-year study covers five additives and three biodegradation methods: composting, landfills, and burying. The study considers two plastics: polyethylene (plastic bags) and polyethylene terephthalate (soda bottles).

Susan Selke, co-author of the study and MSU packaging professor, recommends not using the additives identified in the study. Doing so may result in serious consequences for  companies that have been relying on previous information.

“Making improper or unsubstantiated claims can produce consumer backlash, fill the environment with unwanted polymer debris, and expose companies to legal penalties,” said Selke.

In the meantime, she said, plastic manufacturers are searching for better solutions, particularly to the large amount of waste caused by plastic bags.

Results of the study can be found in the current issue of Environmental Science and Technology. The research was funded by Michigan State University’s Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability.



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