Environment
5:30 am
Mon June 27, 2011

Improperly Disposed Plastics Producing Methane

New Research at North Carolina State University points to the disadvantages of improperly disposing of biodegradable plastics. The products are designed to break down in composting bins. James Levis is an N.C. State PhD candidate and one of the study's organizers. He says the problem is that most biodegradable plastics are being thrown in the trash.

James Levis: "Whenever these materials are disposed of in a landfill, they're going to produce methane. That methane is then admitted to the atmosphere and methane has a global warming potential of 25 times that of carbon dioxide on a hundred year time scale."
Levis says the problem can be fixed by setting up aggressive gas collection systems at landfills. Then the captured methane can be burned to generate electricity