Petroleum-based plastics are essentially conventional plastics: cheap, plentiful, and highly resistant to biodegradation, regardless of environmental conditions. This resistance is actually a sought-after quality during the product’s use phase but is dangerous for end of life.
These materials have not been shown to biodegrade in our lifetime, even with controlled experiments using a wide range of microorganism strains.
Additionally, these plastics extend our reliance on harmful fossil fuels, as they are made from either Naptha (crude oil) or ethane and propane (natural gas). Petroleum-based plastics also release potent greenhouse gas emissions including methane when exposed to sunlight and during degradation