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Organic food has a plastic problem

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

organic food plastic problem

Story at-a-glance -

  • Black plastic, sometimes referred to as plastic mulch, is a primary method of weed control for many organic farms, particularly those growing tomato, pepper and melon plants
  • Many grass and perennial weeds are unable to penetrate the plastic, which also prevents sunlight from hitting the ground and stimulating the growth of weeds
  • Most of the plastic ends up in landfills, which represents a massive amount of plastic waste, as it’s not unusual for large organic farms to spread plastic over thousands of acres
  • Biodynamic farming, which goes even beyond organic in terms of regeneration and protecting biodiversity, suggests that mulching materials should come from off the farm and be chosen with care
  • According to biodynamics, imported synthetic mulch materials that restrict oxygen to the soil below should “be used with caution”

The No. 1 reason why people choose to purchase organic products instead of conventional is to avoid pesticides and other chemicals not allowed in organics. Indeed, just by often or always eating organic, you may have significantly lower levels of pesticide residues in your body compared to someone who rarely does so.

The benefits of not using chemical pesticides can't be overstated, especially as such chemicals are leading environmental pollutants. Worldwide, an estimated 7.7 billion pounds of pesticides are applied to crops each year, and that number is steadily increasing, even as related problems, like herbicide resistance and widespread water pollution, rise.


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