THE BIO CONFUSION
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
The most common confusion is the conception that "Bioplastic straws are biodegradable, that means we can throw them on the ground, and they will disintegrate into nature, won't they?"
Unfortunately, not always. The "bio" in bioplastic only refers to the material its been made out of, and not how it will break down once its been thrown away. These bioplastic straws will still have to get sent to a facility to be broken down.
On top of that, when consumers see the "bio" sign, most will take it as a sign that it can be thrown anywhere. A National Geographic article found out when San Francisco placed a ban on Styrofoam products and switched it with paper cups, the Styrofoam cup litter dropped, but the paper cup litter increased.
Based on this misunderstanding of bioplastics, most of them do not get thrown away properly. To top it off, most cities do not even have the facilities to compost, sort and recycle bioplastics, so most of these bioplastic goods end up in a landfill either way.
Straw free movements such as The Last Straw and Straw No More have kick-started the plastic free straw movement by encouraging reusable straws made out of bamboo and stainless steel; while company giants such as McDonald's and Starbucks have made plans to phase out plastic straws by 2020, with replacements of paper straws.