Plastics are one of the most common materials used today. They're cheap, durable and can be made in almost any shape or size. However, not all plastics are meant to be thrown away or recycled. Some plastics take a very long time to break down, especially when they're buried underground in soil where there's not much oxygen.
The production of plastic uses a lot of energy, especially for the extraction of oil for making plastic products. This energy comes from burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas to produce heat and electricity that power factories that make plastics; this process produces greenhouse gases (GHG) pollution into our atmosphere causing climate change around the world
If you want to see the numbers for yourself, check out what happens to plastic bags in a compost pile. Composting is a way of breaking down organic material (like dead leaves) into fertilizer. So if you put plastic in your compost bin, it will take many years to break down and never fully disappear.
In fact, only about 10% of all plastic used globally each year is recycled.
The results of the calculator are based on a number of factors, including:
If you don't have a soil test, all of these numbers will be estimates based on averages from across the U.S., as well as information from other sources about how much moisture plants need and how fast they grow in different climates.
Biodegradable plastics are a type of plastic that will break down into harmless products, such as water and carbon dioxide, over time. Biodegradable plastics can be made from renewable resources like corn or sugar cane. They are often used in food packaging because these materials are easier to digest than traditional plastics.
Plastics used by people or wildlife need to be recycled in order for them to break down as compost. If they end up in landfills, they can take hundreds of years to decompose completely! Plastics do not biodegrade naturally like other organic materials because they do not contain any organic compounds or enzymes necessary for decomposition (the breakdown of organic matter).
To find out more about the biodegradability of plastics, read our article on What Happens To Plastic In The Environment.
Plastic is a long-lived material that can be recycled and composted, but it isn't biodegradable.
Biodegradability is a complex process, and it takes time. While the formation of microplastics can happen rapidly, the complete breakdown of these tiny pieces into carbon dioxide and water requires many years or even decades. On land, plastic products like bags and bottles take centuries to break down completely. In fact, most plastics are still around in some form after 500 years!
In the ocean, plastic waste can last anywhere from 100 to 1,000 years depending on which type of plastic it is. For example:
Food grade polypropylene is a good option for soil. It is not toxic to plants, humans or animals. It can be composted and it is biodegradable which means it will break down into small pieces in about 450 days. Polypropylene can also be recycled into other products, such as bottles and textiles.
Food-grade polyethylene is a plastic that is biodegradable in soil, but not in water.
This means that you can use it to package your food and, after some time, the packaging will break down and go away (but only if you put it in soil). But if you drop a bag of potato chips into a river or lake, the plastic won't break down—it'll just float around for years and years before finally breaking apart into tiny little pieces.
Food-grade polyethylene shouldn't be confused with "biodegradable" bags at all—those are made from materials that are still made from fossil fuels (like oil) but have additives added so they decompose more quickly than regular plastic bags do. The process starts when microorganisms eat away at the additives until all that remains is normal plastic; since there's nothing left for them to eat anymore, they die off too! Biodegradable plastics like these can only be broken down under certain conditions: oxygen must be available so the bacteria don't suffocate inside their own waste products; moisture must be present so chemical reactions between different types of material can occur; pressure must increase over time due to increasing temperatures caused by microbes eating each other up over time...and so on! If any one condition isn't met perfectly then nothing happens -- even though we would think otherwise because our bodies work differently than theirs do."
BPA is a chemical that has been used in the production of plastic for decades. Over time, BPA can leach into food and beverages from containers made with BPA.
BPA is a known endocrine disruptor, which means it interferes with your body's hormones. It's also linked to some serious health conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, many countries have banned the use of BPA in baby bottles because of these risks to children’s health!
With the plastic debate heating up, it's important to know what type of plastic your food and water containers are made of. If they contain BPA, they will leach into your food and water, causing health problems. Non-BPA free plastics include:
The plastic should be in the form of powder. It is mixed with water. The mixture is heated and then cooled, then poured into a mold and allowed to dry. The resin is removed from the mold
The best way to measure the biodegradability of plastic in soil is by using a test called the biodegradation time. It's done by placing a piece of plastic that you want to test in your soil, then checking on it at regular intervals. This method will give you a good idea as to whether or not your plastic will be able to degrade properly in your soil.
The alternative methods include measuring the carbon dioxide that comes out of the soil over time and measuring how much moisture content is left inside the soil after testing has concluded. These two methods can help you know if your plastic has been broken down into smaller particles that can be used by plants, but they won't tell you anything about how long it took for this process to happen or what kind of environment would be best suited for breaking down particular types of plastics (such as PET vs HDPE).
We hope this article has given you some insight into the biodegradability of plastics and how long it takes for them to break down. It’s important to remember that any plastics used by people or wildlife need to be recycled in order for them to break down as compost. If they end up in oceans, lakes or rivers they can take hundreds or even thousands of years before they decompose!