Why 'biodegradable' isn't what you think

It sounds positive, but there are a few ways the label ‘biodegradable’ may cause more problems than it solves.
Print Friendly and PDF

Move over, sustainable travel. Regenerative travel has arrived

Can a post-vaccine return to travel be smarter and greener than it was before March 2020? Some in the tourism industry are betting on it.

New York City was on the verge of tackling its trash problem. Then COVID hit

The program was designed to eliminate one of the biggest sources of waste: One-third of the city’s trash comes from materials such as food and yard scraps.

MIT researchers create a reusable silicone mask to replace the N95

The mask can be easily cleaned after each use, so it could help solve supply issues. And it’s clear, which could help with communication.

COVID-19 comeback: Some bans on reusable shopping bags lift

Months after concerns about spreading COVID-19 spawned bans on reusable shopping bags, the ubiquitous totes are coming back.

Evian's new 100% recycled plastic bottle has no label

The bottle, which has the brand name engraved onto the recycled plastic, is part of Evian’s effort to become fully circular by 2025.

Meet the gleaners, combing farm fields to feed the newly hungry

An age-old tradition suddenly has fresh urgency in the pandemic, delivering surplus produce to Americans who can’t feed their families.

Pittsburgh-based start up creates a smart way to recycle

A Pittsburgh-based startup is using technology to revolutionize the recycling industry. RoadRunner Recycling uses software designed to help businesses.


Kevin Budris: Let the MIRA incinerator shut down; enact waste stream reforms

With the shutdown of a Hartford incinerator, Connecticut now has an opportunity to implement waste reforms that protect rather than oppress its communities of color.


Residents fight to keep composting from getting trashed in New York City's COVID-19 budget cuts

Advocates say composting programs will help the city meet its climate goals, reduce the pollution faced by communities near landfills and save money in the long run.

"Biodegradable," a magic word for environmentally-minded consumers, isn't always a green panacea

Most of these materials end up in landfills where they can generate methane, a potent greenhouse gas with climate warming effects.

EU to introduce waste reduction targets, new sustainable products law

The European Commission said on Wednesday it will introduce new waste reduction targets and sustainability laws to ensure that products placed on the EU market are recyclable, repairable and designed to last longer, its latest plan to halve waste by 2030.


Notpla's edible blob is a compostable water bottle

Notpla has found a way to make water bottles that you can eat (or compost) when you’re done. What’s next? Getting rid of plastic ketchup packets.

Can Japan save vertical farming?

Vertical farming has struggled to really take off globally. Japan might be bucking the trend.

‘The clock is ticking and the time to green our labs is now!’

Prior to founding Galway Green Labs, Dr Una FitzGerald found she was contributing to the disposal of large volumes of laboratory plastics on a daily basis.

From our Newsroom

The dangerous fringe theory behind the push toward herd immunity: Derrick Z. Jackson

Resumption of normal life in the United States under a herd immunity approach would result in an enormous death toll by all estimates.

My urban nature gem

Thanks to the Clean Water Act and one relentless activist, Georgia's South River may finally stop stinking.

Dust from your old furniture likely contains harmful chemicals—but there’s a solution

Researchers find people's exposure to PFAS and certain flame retardants could be significantly reduced by opting for healthier building materials and furniture.

Hormone-mimicking chemicals harm fish now—and their unexposed offspring later

Fish exposed to harmful contaminants can pass on health issues such as reproductive problems to future generations that had no direct exposure.

How Europe’s wood pellet appetite worsens environmental racism in the US South

An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.

America re-discovers anti-science in its midst

Fauci, Birx, Redfield & Co. are in the middle of a political food fight. They could learn a lot from environmental scientists.

Above The Fold

Daily & Weekly newsletters all free.