Mobil Chemical's 'Biodegradable' Plastic Bags

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In his 1993 book, The Greenpeace Guide to Anti-Environmental Organizations, Carl Deal noted that Mobil Chemical added some starch to the plastic in their 'Hefty' trash bags and marketed them as biodegradable.

"Unfortunately, this 'biodegradability' only took place if the bags were left out in the sun, not if they were buried in landfills - which is, of course, where almost all garbage bags end up. And even in the unlikely event that one of these bags was left out in the sun, it wouldn't rapidly biodegrade, but would merely break up into smaller pieces of plastic. A Mobil Chemical spokesman later admitted that 'degradability is just a marketing tool, We're talking out of both sides of our mouth because we want to sell our bags."
"The company was sued by six states and the Federal Trade Commission for making false and misleading claims, and Greenpeace issued a report written by Barry Commoner called Biodegradable Plastics Scam. Shortly thereafter, Mobil removed the word 'biodegradable from their packaging and agreed to stop making further unsubstantiated advertising claims," he wrote. [1]

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  1. Carl Deal, The Greenpeace Guide to Anti-Environmental Organizations, Odonian Press, Berkeley, 1993, page 9.