"What most consumers don't realize is that biodegradable bioplastics will break down only under the right conditions - those of an industrial composting facility. And even if that happens, they won't contribute value to the compost, unlike coffee grounds or leaves, which have a wide range of micro- and macronutrients as well as a living ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes," Szaky says.
"Removing plastics from the ocean is not enough. We need to get at the whole idea of disposability and single-use items," says Szaky. "We're going back to the milkman model of the 1950s. You buy the milk but the milk company owns the bottle, which you leave in the milk box to be picked up when you're done with it."