With the plastic carry bag ban coming into effect in Maharashtra and other parts of India and the world, several entrepreneurs have come up with solutions to fight the menace. Plastic, nonwoven bags, and E-waste have impact on the environment, human and animal lives. It is destroying the ecosystem and killing animals. Plastic bags have been responsible for the floods in Mumbai and Chennai. One of the solutions presented by many is polypropylene carry bags. For several years, polypropylene carry bags, which are also known as PP Bags, have been presented as alternative to single-use plastic bags. It was claimed that the bags are biodegradable and therefore do not pose threat to environment. Are PP bags biodegradable? Not really! It is bio compostable.
“In fact, a biodegradable material should be like an organic material, like food which you get from the farmland. If you dump it, it should decay and disintegrate and get converted into carbon dioxide (CO2) and moisture. It should not leave behind any trace of its existence. However, in the cases of the so-called biodegradable polymers, they do not disintegrate after you throw it into the open. It needs specific conditions in order to disintegrate,” says a Professor, who teaches at the Department of Polymer, Institute Of Chemical Technology.
Putting it simply it means: you discard the polypropylene bags, thinking it will decompose, but it does not. It would continue to be there just like single-use plastic. The conditions for polypropylene or pp material to decompose are temperature, humidity, and microorganisms. As long as the conditions are present, the material would disintegrate. Particularly if the material is cut into small pieces and the surface area increases, the attack will be faster.
Even in perfect conditions, polypropylene or PP bags don’t degrade like other natural objects, which get decomposed in about 45 days. On the other hand, biodegradable polypropylene or pp bags decompose up to 90 percent in around 180 days. The next time you use a polypropylene bag and don’t think it would degrade and the environment would not be harmed. They may be as harmful as single-use plastic bags.