Plastics are the most versatile and useful materials. RecycleNow, an online website reports that plastics made from bio-based sources does not mean they are automatically biodegradable which begs the question, which materials are more harmful than others.It is only non-biodegradable materials such as fibres, shoes, metals, hazardous substances, pesticides and consumer items like plastic bags that cannot be recycled. Although the lifespan of plastic bags and bottles can be optimised by reusing, the most common and best method of ‘recycling’ them is by turning them into new bottles and bags. This assists with conserving non-renewable fossil fuels(oil), Reduce the consumption of energy used to produce plastics, lessen the amounts of solid waste dumped in landfills and decrease emission gases released into the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide. Harmful chemicals found in plastics are Bisphenol A (BPA) which is contained in water bottles, refreshment cans, receipts and milk cartons. According to Molecular biologist Bruce Blumberg, BPA can be absorbed into the human skin. Although BPA is FDA-Funded there has been a growing concern of whether or not it is safe to use. BPA operates as a key building block in tough, clear and flexible plastic called polycarbonate and its proximity to the food we consume on a daily basis is what concerns biologists such as Blumberg.
Speaking to Science Insider, an educational YouTube channel, Blumberg says: “you don’t want to store food in plastics because some fraction of those plastics will leach into your food.”An ester bond which binds the plastics together is extremely sensitive to heat. When the food is heated in the plastic, the bonds are broken-up and the chemicals are released into the food. Phthalates which are responsible for the plastics flexibility are also released into the food. A study by Johanna R. Rochester, Researcher at tedx.org reveals in a study titled Bisphenol A and human health: A review of the literature that BPA and phthalates lead to heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes and says that children’s exposure to phthalate can affect their neurological development. In research by the American academy of pediatrics it was revealed that the appearance of BPA and phthalates in animals such as monkeys and mice lead to the damage of reproductive organs, lungs and the brain. Solutions to avoid the chemicals is by refraining from heating food in any container that has plastic, instead make use plates. To contain other types of food such as biscuits opt for ceramic or glass containers because when exposure to BPA and phthalates is reduced, the chemicals gradually exit the body.