Biodegradable disposables can harm environment too: Experts

Singapore has a plastic problem, having only recycled 4 per cent of its plastic waste last year. And the war on plastic is in full swing, with "green" alternatives such as metal straws, biodegradable plastic cups and reusable tote bags being given out or sold at various events and outlets. But are these alternatives really eco-friendly? And what else can consumers do to save the planet? Timothy Goh finds out.

Single-use plastics, bottles, fishing equipment and packaging materials are said to be the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental impact.
Single-use plastics, bottles, fishing equipment and packaging materials are said to be the biggest culprits when it comes to environmental impact.PHOTO: ST FILE

They are all the rage these days - "eco-friendly" alternatives to plastic such as reusable shopping bags, biodegradable plastics and metal straws.

In June this year, more than 270 food and beverage outlets said they would stop providing plastic straws, with some offering substitutes made from rice and pasta, while a recent Forum letter called for NTUC FairPrice to consider switching to biodegradable plastic bags.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2019, with the headline 'Biodegradable disposables can harm environment too: Experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe