If it wasn't for Earth's environment, we'd all resemble California Raisins right now -- but dead, perhaps on fire, and certainly not grape-flavored. So we're confident that, as upstanding readers of Cracked, you do your part to keep Captain Planet brimming with proud tears on the daily.
Unfortunately, some of the lessons he taught are about as useful as telling people to wipe their butts with recycled uranium fuel rods. So the next time you want to do something green, keep in mind that ...
"Biodegradable" Is A Meaningless Word
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"Biodegradable" is a word that looks good on product packaging, like "organic" or "sextacular." But do you know what's actually biodegradable? Fucking everything, under the right circumstances. The plastic container your new headphones came in might require decades in very specific conditions to decompose, but in the long run, they're as biodegradable as a banana peel.
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Which is why you were buying new headphones.
We think that anything labeled "biodegradable" veers towards the banana end of the spectrum. But in reality, it's much closer to that bullshit, impossible-to-open plastic packaging. When composted with carefully maintained moisture and temperature, biodegradable plastics will indeed degrade as intended. But toss it in the garbage, standard recycling, or even the compost heap in your backyard, and you might as well set that plastic on fire for all the good it's going to do the environment. Your so-called biodegradable plastic is either going to degrade in a process your distant descendants will be able to witness, or it will degrade improperly and release methane gas, which is basically the worst thing you can release, short of locust plagues.
And that factors in the fact that locust plagues are usually bookended by frog rain and 40 days of darkness.
But don't get too down on yourself for throwing biodegradables in the trash and assuming that science magic would unfold, as most communities lack proper composting facilities. While their numbers are growing, there's a good chance that seeking out biodegradable packaging in your neighborhood will help about as much as seeking out sunscreen in a firestorm. And good luck on that search, as the FTC recently cracked down on companies whose claims of making biodegradable plastics were as accurate as our claims of winning The Great North American Sex Contest (In truth, we only made it to the semi-finals in Winnipeg).