Mark Miodownik: Are biodegradable plastics really better than traditional plastic?
Materials scientist Mark Miodownik explains why a knee-jerk switch from single-use plastic to biodegradable alternatives could actually make things worse.
You’ve probably bought something from a corner shop and taken it home in a plastic bag that says it’s biodegradable, or eaten takeaway food with a compostable fork.
But when you’re done with your bag or your fork, what do you do with them? Can you put them in your food waste bin, your compost heap, or even the recycling bin?
To find out, we spoke to materials scientist Professor Mark Miodownik. Mark is leading the Big Compost Experiment, a nationwide citizen science experiment to explore whether home-compostable plastics really do compost in your garden.
If you sent us a question for Mark, listen out for his answer towards the end of the episode.
If you have a burning science question you want an expert to answer, send them to us on twitter at @sciencefocus, and we may answer them in a future episode.
Let us know what you think of the episode with a review or a comment wherever you listen to your podcasts.
Listen to more episodes of the Science Focus Podcast:
- Solving the plastic problem – Mark Miodownik
- How can we save our planet? – Sir David Attenborough
- Chris Lintott: Can members of the public do real science?
- Dr Erin Macdonald: Is there any science in Star Trek?
- John Higgs: Are Generation Z our only hope for the future?
- Mark Lynas: Could leaving nature to its own devices be the key to meeting the UK’s climate goals?