Recently, I bought take-out food in packaging made biodegradable plastic made of corn. It's exciting to see more Earth-friendly plastic materials but after doing some reading, I realized doing the right thing for the planet isn't always straightforward.
Most plastic is petroleum-based, which does not biodegrade. Plastics made from corn are supposed to be compostable, but an article in Smithsonian magazine found corn plastic is only biodegradable in a controlled composting environment. You need an industrial composting facility with optimal conditions for at least 10 days in a row to encourage microbes to break down plant matter. So your backyard bin probably won't cut it.
So what's a conscientious consumer supposed to do? My opinion is that we need to try our best to forgo throwaway packaging as much as possible. Recycling is great, but there are plenty of plastics that recycling companies won't accept and end up in landfills. I started buying things like grains and cereals in bulk. I save money and I reduce packaging when I reuse the same containers. My grocery store even sells shampoo and lotion in bulk. I haven't tried that yet, but I should.
What do you think about compostable packaging? Do you have your own tips for reducing packaging?