Plastic bags made from potato or corn starch, sorting bins, organic products from supermarkets… These are many so-called eco-friendly practices that are in the end not as ecological as we think!
“We no longer can hand out plastic bags, but we have invested in ecological and biodegradable bags, based on corn starch!”, you local grocer proudly says! Without wanting to spoil his delight in telling you he his an eco-friendly supplier, you should perhaps mention that these bags are not necessarily more ecological… The best solution is still to create no waste at all! Here are 10 eco-friendly practices that we all think are good for the environment but are they really?
1/ Plastic bags made from vegetable starch
Biodegradable plastic bags that are made of vegetable starch (potato or corn) are a controversial solution. The idea is a good one if they are made 100% of natural materials. Although growing cereals to made plastic bags is a rather questionable concept. The hiccup with this idea is that these biodegradable plastics are only made up of a small proportion of vegetable materials. The vegetable polymer used still contains about 50 -70% petrol. What is more these bags are single use only meaning they generate the same amount of waste. This includes their fabrication and well as their treatment at the end. Remember to take your cotton bags to the supermarket the next time!
The best waste is the waste that was never produced! Recycling is a cover up solution which is not as environmentally friendly as all that … Of course it helps us reuse materials that have already been produced but the system also uses a lot of energy from the truck collections, to the sorting, melting down and transportation. There are also some materials that can’t be recycled as they are dirtied or they don’t tell you the truth. For example, plastic is a material that is rarely recyclable unlike materials made of wood or glass that can be recycled indefinitely. Currently it s estimated that 9% of plastic is really recycled globally. It is enough to take a second look at our environmental efforts!
3/ Electronic book
An electronic book is made using hundreds of often rare metals, plastic particles and other polluting components. In any case producing a e-book requires much more energy than producing a book. The carbon footprint of an e-book is roughly around 235 kg of CO2 in comparison to 1.3 kg of CO2 for a paper copy.
4/ Organic foods in big supermarkets
You can’t buy your products in big supermarkets without lots of plastic packaging. You will no doubt have realised that organic fruit and vegetables in the big supermarkets are carefully wrapped in plastic… The paradox is that they are meant to be more environmentally friendly. You also need to watch that although the product might be organic it could have come from the other side of Europe instead of being locally grown.
5/ Toilet paper
Whatever we throw down the toilet it will made us consume more water and saturate the purification stations. Especially seeing as these purification stations are often badly filtered and the waste ends up in the countryside.