There are a lot of fake news about plastic that you can read in the newspapers or that are told on TV. Many of these explore the hottest topics of current affairs, such as environmental sustainability and climate change.
These are all very popular topics and can mislead people who read the news quickly, without delving deeper, thus causing widespread misinformation.
In this article we dispel some negative myths about plastic and delve into the concept of fake news, why the world of plastic is so involved in it and what to do to recognize fake news.
What are the most common fake news about plastic? 3 examples and 3 denials
Incomplete information often circulates about plastic, as well as outright “hoaxes” that tend to demonize its use. But what is real and what is invented? Let’s see 3 examples.
1. The production of bioplastic takes land away from agriculture
This is one of the fake news circulating online and which has been refuted by the research Bioplastics: facts and figures – European Bioplastic. According to the study, in fact, in 2021 “the land dedicated to the production of bioplastics reached 0.01% of the world’s agricultural surface, equal to 700 thousand hectares”.
2. Plastic cannot be biodegradable
This is also very common fake news that tends to generalize a statement related to plastic recycling. In reality, the biodegradability of plastic is a real fact, but not only that, polymers obtained from fossil fuels can be biodegradable as well.
3. Plastic is harmful to the environment and should be banned
Contrary to popular belief, some scientific studies, such as the Comparison of Life Cycle Assessment of PET Bottle and Glass Bottle, have shown that plastic causes less damage to the environment than other materials, such as glass for example.
The problems linked to plastic pollution cannot be denied, but we need to understand where do they arise from. Is it the plastic itself that pollutes or does the problem arise from the incorrect behavior of humans who do not know how to best dispose of or reuse it?
Plastic, truths, and false myths
There is a lot of news circulating about plastic, some often conflicting with each other. It is said to be the main cause of pollution on the planet, that it can resist in the environment for thousands of years and that it consumes the resources intended for the agricultural supply chain.
The message that, however, often does not get through is that the biggest problem with plastic does not concern its life cycle, but how it is used and managed by man. Just to give an example: today we generate more waste than the plastic we produce and, in Europe, only a small percentage of it is recycled (around 30%).
Furthermore, in some countries waste is not well managed. In China and Indonesia, for example, plastic products are abandoned in uncontrolled, open-air landfills, thus generating serious problems for the environment. What should be done then?
We start from the assumption that plastic is a very important resource for various sectors (from food to automotive and pneumatics) but it certainly needs to be managed better. This is why we need to make people aware not only of possible reuses, but also of correct disposal.
Depending on the type, plastic can in fact be recycled several times and the material obtained can be useful for producing other products. Furthermore, you can invest in bio-based plastics (obtained from plant biomass) and biodegradable ones (degraded by microorganisms in water, gas, biomass).
What are fake news, where do they come from and why a lot of them are related to the world of plastic
Fake news circulating online can generate incorrect opinions about our vision of the world. Let’s delve deeper into the topic by trying to understand, first of all, what exactly are fake news, how do they arise and what issues they involve.
What are fake news?
Fake news – or “hoaxes” as they are often called in Italian – are unverified news based on facts and/or incorrect statements and events that never happened.
These are not completely false communications, but articles created ad hoc on incomplete information that aim to generate confusion on a specific topic. For the content to become viral, and therefore read by many people, it must be based on current, “hot” and highly popular topics.
Where do fake news come from?
Both individuals and organizations hide behind the creation of fake news. Organizations, in particular, invest money and use paid campaigns (especially on social networks) so that the news goes viral, thus increasing user shares and providing the illusion that the information provided is true.
People can also share content to destabilize public opinion. Again, the virality of the post which is based on the high number of shares on social media plays a fundamental role in the credibility of the news (and the source).
It must be said that few people click on the content and invest their time in reading the article: many, in fact, stop at the title, without delving deeper. The sharing, therefore, of unverified posts – which perhaps spread false or incomplete information – can generate indignation and alarmism.
Why the world of plastic is at the center of fake news
Pollution, environment, climate change: the topics that concern the planet and its future are very close to people’s hearts. And concern about environmental issues and sustainability is a hot spot that fuels fake news.
This is why everything that revolves around plastic – a material with which many objects are produced that are not always disposed of in the correct way – arouses people’s curiosity. From production to disposal, plastic thus becomes one of the favorite subjects of hoaxes circulating online.
Real or fake news? How to defend yourself from fake news
Given the widespread phenomenon, search engines and social networks are very attentive to fake news and try to not allow their uploading thanks to the use of special algorithms. However, they do not always succeed.
For this reason, correct reading of the news is recommended, with verification of the sources and the reliability of the news by the reader. And to do this you can adopt some simple tricks.
For example, it might be useful to:
- Always check the origin of each piece of news, evaluating the publisher, author and their related skills and/or knowledge of the sector. This advice also applies to news shared on Twitter/X, Instagram and Facebook.
- Check if a news item is full of data, studies and reliable sources, if the quotes are correct and refer to existing bodies, organizations or people.
- Don’t stop at the title but continue reading the article.
- Compare multiple sources and articles on the same topic.
Sustainability: for BMP TAPPI it is an important issue to promote
At BMP TAPPI we care about sustainability. We are aware of the fact that plastic takes 100 to 1000 years to degrade but, at the same time, we are convinced that this material should not be demonized.
Rather, we believe that it is more important to understand how to use it responsibly.
At BMP TAPPI, for example, we produce a series of products with materials of PCR origin (obtained from consumer/end user waste) and materials of PIR origin (coming from waste generated by industry). Furthermore, we have created a series of entirely biodegradable technical caps (which can also be customized) and we are working to produce our largest series in BIO material.
And there is more. We have always promoted correct disposal because only in this way, at the end of use, can our plastic caps degrade without releasing pollutants into the environment.
Do you want to learn more about our plastic caps?
Discover our products range.