Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, concerns and impacts on marine environments

The report finds that complete biodegradation of plastics occurs in conditions that are rarely, if ever, met in marine environments, with some polymers requiring industrial composters and prolonged temperatures of above 50°C to disintegrate. There is also some limited evidence suggesting that labelling products as ‘biodegradable’ increases the public’s inclination to litter.
The report was launched to mark the 20th anniversary of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), an intergovernmental mechanism hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Dr. Peter John Kershaw, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, 2015.

The report

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