On this Skeptical Sunday, comedian Michael Regilio joins us to discuss the pros and cons of bioplastics and the importance of responsible plastic use.
On This Week’s Skeptical Sunday, We Discuss:
- Plastic pollution, especially single-use plastic, is a significant environmental issue, with 40 percent of all plastic produced being single-use plastic packaging.
- Bioplastics, made from renewable sources like plants and algae, are seen as a potential solution to the plastic problem, but come with their own challenges.
- Biodegradable and compostable plastics, often labeled as such, may not always live up to their claims and can end up in landfills, where they release harmful greenhouse gases.
- Harvesting algae from excessive algal waterways and using it to create biodegradable products, like flip-flops and packaging materials, is a promising and eco-friendly approach.
- To help address the plastic problem, individuals can reduce their single-use plastic consumption, properly recycle plastic materials, and support initiatives that promote sustainable alternatives like algae-based products and responsible waste disposal.
- Connect with Jordan on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. If you have something you’d like us to tackle here on Skeptical Sunday, drop Jordan a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know!
- Connect with Michael Regilio at his website, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and make sure to check out the Michael Regilio Plagues Well With Others podcast here or wherever you enjoy listening to fine podcasts!
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Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
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This Episode Is Sponsored By:
Miss our conversation with evolutionary social psychologist Dr. Sarah Hill? Catch up with episode 280: Sarah Hill | This Is Your Brain on Birth Control here!
Resources from This Episode:
- The Graduate | Prime Video
- Plastic Pollution | Our World in Data
- Our Planet Is Choking on Plastic | UN Environment Programme
- Report Reveals that US Plastics Recycling Rate Has Fallen to <6% | Beyond Plastics
- Is Plastic Recycling a Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling to Sell More Plastic | NPR
- Why Have We All Been Recycling Plastic for 30 Years? | NPR
- Why It’s So Hard to Recycle Plastic | Scientific American
- Revealed: Plastic Ingestion by People Could Be Equating to a Credit Card a Week | WWF
- You Could Be Swallowing a Credit Card’s Weight in Plastic Every Week | CNN
- The Truth About Bioplastics | Columbia Climate School
- The History of Bioplastics | Bioplastics News
- History and Future of Plastics | Science History Institute
- What Does Biodegradable Mean? | BBC Good Food
- What Biodegradable Really Means | NatureCode
- Frequently Asked Questions about Plastic Recycling and Composting | US EPA
- Why Algae May Be the Plastic of the Future | Undecided with Matt Ferrell
- The Effects: Dead Zones and Harmful Algal Blooms | US EPA
- How Does Filter Feeding Work? | Ocean Conservancy
- This Startup Is Harvesting Wild Algae to Make Your Next Pair of Sneakers | Smithsonian Magazine
- Over One Billion Liters of Water Cleaned and Counting… | Bloom
- Innovation Abounds in Plastic Substitutes, but It’s Behaviour Change That Will Save Our Seas | UN Environment Programme
- A Startup Made Edible Algae Packaging to Combat Plastic Pollution | Business Insider
- Edible Food Packaging Made from Milk Proteins | American Chemical Society
- Eat Your Food Packaging, Don’t Bin It — Scientists | Reuters
890: Bioplastics | Skeptical Sunday
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Special thanks to Airbnb for sponsoring this episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show. Maybe you've stayed at an Airbnb before and thought to yourself, "Yeah, this actually seems pretty doable. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your whole place while you're away. Find out how much your place is worth at airbnb.com/host.
[00:00:22] Welcome to Skeptical Sunday. I'm your host, Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you. Our mission is to help you become a better informed, more critical thinker.
[00:00:40] And during the week, we have long-form conversations with a variety of amazing folks, from spies to CEOs, athletes, authors, thinkers, and performers. On Sundays, though, we do Skeptical Sunday, where a rotating guest co-host and I break down a topic you may have never thought about and debunk common misconceptions on that topic. Topics such as why tipping makes no sense, the lottery, Reiki healing, ear candling, self-help cults, recycling, astrology, and more.
[00:01:05] And if you're new to the show or you want to tell your friends about the show, our episode starter packs are a great place to begin. These are collections of top episodes on persuasion, negotiation, psychology, disinformation, cyber warfare, crime and cults, and more. And I'll help new listeners get a taste of everything that we do here on the show. Just visit jordanharbinger.com/start or search for us in your Spotify app to get started.
[00:01:27] Today, plastics, they clog up our oceans and waterways. We've done a couple of episodes on these. They pollute the air. They infect our bodies. They take hundreds of years to break down in some cases. To get rid of plastics, we've tried burying them, burning them, recycling them, but plastics remain a problem. One solution being developed is bioplastics, which are produced from plants rather than oil. But are bioplastics the answer to the plastic problem, or are they just a plant-based Band-Aid?
[00:01:55] Today, comedian Michael Regilio joins me to break down some bioplastics.
[00:01:59] Michael Regilio: Hey, Jordan. I'm sure you remember the 1967 film, The Graduate.
[00:02:04] Jordan Harbinger: Somehow, I knew you'd bring that up. Yes, of course. The film is known for two classic lines, "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me," and "Plastics!"
[00:02:12] Michael Regilio: Right, and the plastics line comes from when Dustin Hoffman's character is being offered career advice from one of his parents' friends. And as I was thinking about it, the friend was right. Anyone starting a career in plastics in 1967 would have made a killing. Plastics literally took over the world. Do me a favor, take a quick look around your studio and tell me how much plastic you see.
[00:02:34] Jordan Harbinger: Other than this wooden desk, which was actually really hard to get made for me. There's not an area where I don't see plastic.
[00:02:41] Michael Regilio: Yeah, and that tracks. The world has produced over nine billion tons of plastic since the 1950s. We produce 242 million metric tons of it a year. 165 million tons of it have littered our oceans. And almost nine million new tons of plastic enter the oceans every year.
[00:03:02] Jordan Harbinger: Gross.
[00:03:03] Michael Regilio: Shockingly, 40 percent of this plastic is single-use plastic packaging. People are hooked on plastic.
[00:03:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it's disgusting. Every time I order food, I'm always like, "No utensils!" But it doesn't matter because then it comes in a plastic bag, and then the food thing is in plastic, and then there's a little sauce thing, and that's plastic. It's unavoidably disgusting. You basically have to pull food out of your garden to avoid plastic. Even then you're probably eating plastic that's in the air or in the dirt.
[00:03:32] I'm always also struck. You ever watch like Naked and Afraid?
[00:03:35] Michael Regilio: Love it.
[00:03:35] Jordan Harbinger: Of course, you do. Yeah. They go to the most remote places on earth. And by the way, if you haven't seen that show. It's where they send somebody who's really arrogant about how much they know about survival and they put them in a place where you absolutely have no chance of getting by unscathed. And they'll take the pastiest, tough-talking, white dude and they'll put him in a place near the equator that has sunlight for 18 hours a day and just blasts you with UV and they're like, alright. Oh, and they're naked. They're actually butt-naked. And within six hours the guy's got sunburned so bad he can't move. My point is I'm always struck when I watch these, right? Because they go to these really remote places in Ecuador, the jungle or wherever, and there's still plastic crap lining the beach where no human other than this production crew and the location scout has been for 10 years. Plastic is literally fricking everywhere.
[00:04:26] Michael Regilio: Yeah, for a long time we were told that of all the plastic produced, only nine percent of it is recycled.
[00:04:32] Jordan Harbinger: Right, which is a depressingly small number.
[00:04:35] Michael Regilio: Well, if you think that's depressing, wait until you hear this. A report from the advocacy group Beyond Plastics found that the correct number is even lower. The true number is closer to five or six percent.
[00:04:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man, that's hard to wrap my head around. Since recycling plants and these recycling programs, they seem so ubiquitous. Most people I know recycle. I can tell because I walk through my neighborhood and the bins are overflowing.
[00:05:01] Michael Regilio: Yeah, me too. But this is why this is hard to say, but we've been duped, man. The recycling movement is, unfortunately, mostly bullsh*t. Going all the way back to the '70s, internal documents show that the plastic industry knew that recycling was not a viable solution to the plastic problem. In a nutshell, the only problem recycling has solved was the problem the plastic industry had of how do we get people to keep buying plastic.
[00:05:28] Jordan Harbinger: We did an episode on plastic. I think it was like episode 650 or something like that. I got to look it up. But basically, recycling turned out to just be busy work assigned by the plastic industry.
[00:05:38] Michael Regilio: Yeah, it's like how the crying Indian in those famous environmental ads from the '70s was actually an Italian dude.
[00:05:44] Jordan Harbinger: That's sad and hilarious.
[00:05:46] Michael Regilio: It's true. The actual organization behind the recycling ads for the '90s was the plastic industry itself. Companies like Exxon, Chevron, Dow, and DuPont paid for those ads. Companies not exactly known for being stalwarts of the environmental movement.
[00:06:01] Jordan Harbinger: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:02] Michael Regilio: I'm sorry to say, but we've had the plastic wool pulled over our eyes.
[00:06:06] Jordan Harbinger: As a child of the '90s, and '80s for that matter, I feel betrayed. Next, you're going to tell me the people on Friends were not actually friends.
[00:06:13] Michael Regilio: No, Jordan, that was real. Rachel and Ross are happily married somewhere.
[00:06:18] Jordan Harbinger: Thank God for that.
[00:06:19] Michael Regilio: It's funny that you should say that because just like how a bad sitcom gets less funny each time you watch it.
[00:06:25] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:06:25] Michael Regilio: Every time we recycle plastic, it also degrades. It can only be recycled once or twice. Even if we recycled 100 percent of all plastic, the absolute best we could do would be to slow the plastification of the planet.
[00:06:39] Jordan Harbinger: I know we're not really talking about this, but I do have to say something about the sitcom thing. When you rewatch stuff like Friends, you realize the acting is so terrible.
[00:06:48] Michael Regilio: Yeah.
[00:06:48] Jordan Harbinger: And those people made so much money doing that. And look, the show was popular, but it's the writers should have made a bunch of money. I hope they did, but I don't think they made as much as the actors. The actors really did. I want to say less than half the work because the writing is actually quite corny, but also really good, especially for the time, but the acting, it was bad then and it's much worse now. Now, that we're old enough to know what good acting looks like and not just care about the jokes.
[00:07:13] Michael Regilio: You need the lightning in the bottle and as long as you mention sitcoms, I'll say that the original lightning in a bottle was Mary Tyler Moore Show, perfect cast, perfect writing. If anyone hasn't watched it, highly recommend.
[00:07:24] Jordan Harbinger: I've only barely heard of that. You're like a 60-year-old woman trapped in the body of a 30-something-year-old man. I don't know. We don't have to go there.
[00:07:32] So, obviously, we need a better solution than recycling. And I do want to bring up a PSA here and mention that you can recycle single-use plastic bags and other plastic wrapping at many stores. Most Targets, grocery stores, they'll take this stuff, and it's used actually in manufacturing, more permanent things. I want to say roofing. There's something that they make that's used in building, I think, and we got a lot of feedback about this in our Skeptical Sunday episode on recycling, which by the way was episode 680. So don't toss out that single-use stuff. Pack it in another bag, because you know you have a zillion bags anyways, and bring it back. Because last time I said, "Oh, you can't recycle that stuff." You can't recycle it in the recycling bin, but it can be recycled by a company that then turns around and makes a profit off of it, which is actually a good thing, because then it's not just like tax dollars recycling cardboard at a loss. It's something that is actually useful. I need to mention this more on this show.
[00:08:27] Michael Regilio: Yeah. Thank you for that. That is a good option. And another option that people are getting into right now and you're seeing it everywhere is bioplastics and biodegradable plastics.
[00:08:37] Jordan Harbinger: It's weird because it sounds like the solution to plastic is more plastic, which checks out.
[00:08:42] Michael Regilio: The fact of the matter is humans are into plastic. And by the way, plastic is into us, literally.
[00:08:48] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:08:48] Michael Regilio: I came across this while researching this episode. Each one of us consumes about five grams of microplastic a week.
[00:08:56] Jordan Harbinger: That is hard to believe because that's about a spoonful of plastic every week. That's still maybe better than the credit card of plastic that we're supposedly eating every day or whatever statistic. I've seen that in other places. That one's unbelievable, but it's still disgusting.
[00:09:12] Michael Regilio: Huh, I didn't come across that one. But this does remind me of that Mary Poppins song, a spoonful of plastic helps the medicine industry because we're all sick from plastic.
[00:09:21] Jordan Harbinger: I strangely remember that song differently. But again, you're the 60-year-old woman in a younger man's body. So maybe you're on it.
[00:09:28] Michael Regilio: Yeah, you want some dated references? Here's one. According to the Saturday morning cartoons, I watched as a kid, Plastic Man was supposed to be a superhero. But in reality, we're all plastic men and plastic women. And I got news for you, man. It ain't making us super.
[00:09:41] Jordan Harbinger: You don't ever disappoint with the dated references. I'll give you that. But now we're talking about bioplastic and biodegradable plastic. Are those different things?
[00:09:52] Michael Regilio: Uh, short answer, yes. Alternative short answer, no.
[00:09:56] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, confusing as usual.
[00:09:58] Michael Regilio: That's because it is confusing. Let's start by defining our terms. Bioplastic is called bioplastic because it's derived from plants like potatoes, cassava, and sugarcane instead of petroleum.
[00:10:11] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, right off the bat, that sounds like an improvement because, I don't know. Oil, bad; plants, good, or something?
[00:10:18] Michael Regilio: Yeah, that is a good starting point. There are two main types of bioplastics. PLA, or polylactic acid, is made from the sugars in plants like the ones I just mentioned. And this is crazy. And because we make this kind of plastic from sugars, technically it's edible.
[00:10:34] Jordan Harbinger: Apparently being inedible doesn't actually stop us from eating the other kind of plastic. So I shudder to think where this is going right now.
[00:10:43] Michael Regilio: I think it could be cool, man. Want to come over to my house for dinner? We're going to be having a braised shopping bag and a couple of water bottles over rice.
[00:10:51] Jordan Harbinger: Hard pass, but I don't really have a choice, right, because we're eating it whether we know we're eating it or not.
[00:10:55] Michael Regilio: To make this kind of plastic, PLA, I almost said we, but I'm not a scientist and I will never be a scientist. They immerse corn kernels in sulfur dioxide and hot water, which breaks it down into protein and starch.
[00:11:09] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, sounds edible so far.
[00:11:11] Michael Regilio: Yeah, and then the next step is some citric acid is then mixed in or I guess—
[00:11:16] Jordan Harbinger: it's actually this all sounds fully edible keep going.
[00:11:19] Michael Regilio: Maybe instead of mixed in it's drizzled in and soon enough, you've got a bioplastic.
[00:11:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yum.
[00:11:24] Michael Regilio: The other kind is PHA or polyhydroxyalkanoate. This is made by microorganisms, which are sometimes genetically engineered and as near as I can tell, PHA is not edible or at least it didn't really taste like it to me.
[00:11:42] Jordan Harbinger: That is a tongue twister polyhydroxyalkanoate, maybe? I don't know, I'm looking at the word right now.
[00:11:47] Michael Regilio: Yeah.
[00:11:47] Jordan Harbinger: Not easy. Not easy.
[00:11:48] Michael Regilio: Yeah.
[00:11:49] Jordan Harbinger: I don't know. If it's not edible, is it possible you were just preparing it wrong? Try the sous vide method first, get it really tender.
[00:11:56] Michael Regilio: Sounds good, man. Look, the fact of the matter is, bioplastics are big business. It's projected that the global bioplastic market will grow to almost 44 billion. And bioplastics are used in packaging, straws, bags, bottles, carpet, plastic piping, phone casings, 3D printing, car insulation, and medical implants.
[00:12:19] Jordan Harbinger: I'm actually surprised more things are not made from these newfangled bioplastics then.
[00:12:25] Michael Regilio: One thing holding it back is cost. Bioplastics are expensive.
[00:12:28] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:12:28] Michael Regilio: They can be 20 to 50 percent more costly than petroleum-based plastics. And for the record, bioplastics are not new. One of the earliest man-made bioplastics is celluloid, and it was developed in the 1860s.
[00:12:43] Jordan Harbinger: 1860s? So we're talking Civil War, Abraham Lincoln presidency, bioplastics? Way back then?
[00:12:50] Michael Regilio: Yeah, man-made bioplastics date back to the 1860s. Nature made bioplastics way earlier than that. The word plastic, technically, just comes from the Greek and it means moldable. In a sense, there have always been plastic materials in nature, like amber and rubber. But the first man-made bioplastic was celluloid, and it launched the modern age of man-made plastics. There was a time when women wore celluloid jewelry, and had celluloid hair combs, celluloid toilet sets were once all the rage, and there was a time when you were a real somebody if you had a bunch of plastic crap.
[00:13:27] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, it's the same today except the plastic crap is on your face and implanted into various parts.
[00:13:34] Michael Regilio: That's true, man. And it wasn't just the 1860s, by the way, that people were working with bioplastics. Believe it or not, Ford once made a car made from bioplastic derived from soybeans.
[00:13:44] Jordan Harbinger: Wow. Sounds like a vegan car. Ford, if you're listening, you might want to bring that one back. I know for a fact that some of my friends would shell out big bucks for that. I think producer Gabriel Mizrahi would love himself a biodegradable car.
[00:13:57] Michael Regilio: Yeah. Oh, actually, that's not necessarily true. This also shocked me to learn. Many bioplastics that, although made from plants, are not biodegradable. From a chemical bond perspective, some bioplastics are identical to the plastics made from oil.
[00:14:14] Jordan Harbinger: That's surprising. So oil, bad; plant, also bad, too, then, from what it sounds like.
[00:14:19] Michael Regilio: Okay. To quote Run-DMC, "It's tricky."
[00:14:22] Jordan Harbinger: Man, you love a good dated reference. Wow.
[00:14:26] Michael Regilio: Okay, I'm slightly embarrassed to admit here that I actually thought that one was going to be kind of hip.
[00:14:31] Jordan Harbinger: No, that was not hip.
[00:14:32] Michael Regilio: No? I'm going to keep swinging for a hip reference. Look, take ethylene, which is derived from oil. It's turned into a long chain of carbon to become polyethylene, or PE. Now, take a biobased plastic like one made from ethanol. You can make the exact same long carbon chain out of it. The chemical bond is exactly the same. About 45 percent of bioplastics produced today are not biodegradable.
[00:15:00] Jordan Harbinger: So not biodegradable seems to defeat the purpose of bioplastic, or am I missing something?
[00:15:06] Michael Regilio: No, in my opinion, definitely. This is actually equally crazy. Some plastics made from oil are biodegradable.
[00:15:12] Jordan Harbinger: So this is really confusing. So it depends on what they're made out of, but what they're made out of then does not necessarily dictate if they biodegrade or not.
[00:15:21] Michael Regilio: Look, this is just me, but I believe that, just like recycling, this is meant to be confusing. The term biodegradable basically means nothing. Technically, all plastic is biodegradable. It just takes a really long time to biodegrade. Some plastics have been treated to biodegrade faster than others, but a styrofoam cup biodegrades. It just takes 500 years or so. But technically, styrofoam is biodegradable.
[00:15:47] Jordan Harbinger: So then everything at that level that is biodegradable over a long enough period of time, but that's not what we're talking about, right? We're talking about the plastic products you find in stores labeled biodegradable. That has to mean something, right?
[00:16:03] Michael Regilio: Look, the label biodegradable is different, but in my opinion, it is equally confusing. So I looked it up. Here's what the EPA says about it on their website. Quote, "The term biodegradable, when used for marketing purposes, includes a time component regarding the length of time it takes for the plastic to fully degrade."
[00:16:27] Jordan Harbinger: You know what else will never break down? Your love for the fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:16:34] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Whenever we travel, we enjoy staying at Airbnbs. I love that many properties come with amenities like a kitchen, laundry machines, free parking, that's not fricking 60 bucks a night. Having a backyard is nice, especially when we bring the kids around. We've stayed at an Airbnb in Kauai that had like an outdoor shower. So we built one at our own house as well. And we find that Airbnb hosts often go the extra mile to make our stay special. They provide local tips, personalized recommendations, sometimes a welcome basket. I know you guys are sick of my banana bread story, so I'll spare you on this one. There are a lot of benefits to hosting as well. You might have set up a home office. Now you're back in the real office. You could Airbnb it, make some extra money on the side. Maybe your kid's heading off to college in the fall. You're going to have that empty bedroom. You could Airbnb it, make a little cash while they're away. Whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills, or for something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
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[00:17:47] Now, back to Skeptical Sunday.
[00:17:51] Okay, so far so good, right? The label biodegradable is in reference to how long it takes to biodegrade. Okay, I get that. That's what everybody expects it to fricking mean.
[00:18:00] Michael Regilio: This is where it gets confusing. The EPA continues, quote, "According to the Federal Trade Commission's green guides, it is deceptive to make an unqualified degradable claim for items entering the solid waste stream if the items do not completely decompose within one year after customary disposal." Now, this is where it gets confusing. Let me ask you. What do you think they mean by customary disposal?
[00:18:28] Jordan Harbinger: I mean, that's what you do with garbage, right? You throw it in the trash can or the recycling bin. That's customary disposal.
[00:18:34] Michael Regilio: That's exactly what I would have thought. But let's keep reading from the EPA's website. Quote, "Unqualified gradable claims for items that are customarily disposed in landfills, i. e. the trash, incinerators, the trash, and recycling facilities, the recycling bin, are deceptive because these locations do not present conditions in which complete decomposition will occur within one year."
[00:19:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wait, what? So they're like, oh yeah, if you throw it away it'll biodegrade within one year. Oh yeah, but not if you throw it in the garbage in the recycling bin. What am I supposed to do? Dig a hole in my backyard? I don't understand.
[00:19:14] Michael Regilio: Yeah. Yeah. It's super confusing. And here's where we get into the difference between compostable and biodegradable.
[00:19:21] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, okay.
[00:19:22] Michael Regilio: Let's just keep reading from the EPA because this is really interesting.
[00:19:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:19:25] Michael Regilio: The EPA's website goes on, and it says, quote, "Plastic that is compostable is biodegradable, but not every plastic that is biodegradable is compostable."
[00:19:37] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so we're still talking about what to do with the plastic bottles we get at the store, right, essentially?
[00:19:43] Michael Regilio: Yeah, I suppose so, but it's getting very confusing. The EPA goes on. Let's keep reading. Quote, "Whereas biodegradable plastic may be engineered to biodegrade in soil or water, compostable plastic refers to biodegradation into soil conditioning material, i. e. compost, under a certain set of conditions."
[00:20:03] Jordan Harbinger: If I'm translating that bowl of word soup correctly, biodegradable plastic must be disposed of in soil or water, but it cannot go to a landfill, and it cannot go to a recycling plant.
[00:20:16] Michael Regilio: That's what Uncle Sam says.
[00:20:18] Jordan Harbinger: Which is ridiculous, because who the hell is going to be like, "Oh, these have the little symbol on the back, I'm going to put it in my plastic landfill that I have in my backyard." That just makes absolutely no sense. So, the problem with plastic, So who the hell disposes of plastic in soil or water? I am not, there's nobody on earth that I know of that has a proper way to dispose of these biodegradable plastics. And I just assumed that if I have it and I throw it away, it biodegrades in a landfill. I feel like that's what they want you to think, like, oh, this is bioplastic, I'm just going to chuck this out and it's going to be fine.
[00:20:52] Michael Regilio: Yeah. The fact of the matter is the water one makes a little bit of sense because a whole bunch of plastic does end up in the oceans. Forget it. No, you're right. Problem with plastic is plastic.
[00:21:00] Jordan Harbinger: So then what about compostable plastic? That stuff is now everywhere, especially here in California. I really thought, oh, you can just throw this anywhere and it's fine.
[00:21:09] Michael Regilio: Many eco-conscious restaurants are using it for their takeout food now. Let's say you get a big meal delivered to your home, and after a delicious meal, you're left with a bunch of compostable plastic. What do you do?
[00:21:19] Jordan Harbinger: Something tells me I'm going to be wrong here, but whatever. Okay, I throw it in the composter, which I never do, by the way.
[00:21:24] Michael Regilio: You would, of course, be wrong.
[00:21:26] Jordan Harbinger: So don't throw compostable plastic into the compost. What the hell?
[00:21:31] Michael Regilio: These terms, biodegradable and compostable, are theoretical terms. They only apply under very specific conditions. And when it comes to compostable plastic, the term only applies when it is composted in an industrial composting facility. Industrial composting facilities use microorganisms, heat, and humidity to break down stuff and turn it into compost.
[00:21:55] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, so it has to go to an industrial composting facility, and I'm not really sure where one is. I remember back in Michigan when I cut the grass and dumped it into cans before we had mulching mowers. You had to put these big stickers that would say compost, and a different truck would come by and get all the grass clippings. I assume they took it to one of these places, but I guess I didn't really know that those separate facilities existed until ten seconds ago.
[00:22:18] Michael Regilio: Yeah, and that's because there are just around 185 full-scale composting sites in the US. that can process compostable plastic. For comparison, there's around 3,000 dumps.
[00:22:30] Jordan Harbinger: It's a huge country and that's not a lot of facilities. That's what, like, three per state, give or take? The odds of one being near you are not good.
[00:22:37] Michael Regilio: Well, let me throw this at you. And of those 185 composting sites that technically can compost bioplastics, only around 50 percent of them accept compostable plastics.
[00:22:49] Jordan Harbinger: That doesn't even make sense. Isn't that the whole point of the facility? To accept compostable stuff?
[00:22:54] Michael Regilio: Yes, but the problem is compostable plastic looks just like regular plastic and most facilities just don't want to deal with the headache of trying to figure out what's what. As a result, most compostable plastic doesn't end up being composted.
[00:23:09] Jordan Harbinger: That's so annoying. You'd think they would just all throw it in the dissolving thing, and the stuff that's left over is the real plastic, and the liquid is the compostable stuff. You're welcome. All right, so what happens to it? They just fricking chuck it out, don't they?
[00:23:22] Michael Regilio: It ends up in the trash and the recycling bin.
[00:23:25] Jordan Harbinger: So, you mean the places the EPA says that you're not supposed to put it in the first place?
[00:23:30] Michael Regilio: Yes.
[00:23:30] Jordan Harbinger: Aah.
[00:23:31] Michael Regilio: Plus compostable plastic that ends up at the recycling plant can contaminate entire batches of plastic because compostable plastic can't be recycled and the entire batch ends up in a landfill.
[00:23:43] Jordan Harbinger: This is actually infuriating. So the whole point of recycling and composting is to keep plastic out of the landfill and that's just not happening at all. And plus, since we're only recycling, would you say six percent of plastic to begin with, we really can't afford to be tossing out entire batches of plastic that's meant to be recycled in the first place. God, this is so depressing, man.
[00:24:03] Michael Regilio: And there's one more thing I—
[00:24:05] Jordan Harbinger: There always is.
[00:24:06] Michael Regilio: In a landfill, compostable plastic, unlike regular plastic, releases methane, which is a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
[00:24:17] Jordan Harbinger: So if you're not meticulous in your disposal of the bioplastic you bought, and I don't even know how you would do this, what are you going to do, like save every bioplastic compostable thing and put it in a box and then every three months drive to this facility that might not even be there? And be like, "Hey, do you take this?" And when they say no, you turn around and go home with it. I mean, it's so stupid. So this stuff that you bought to try to dispose of properly, you're essentially just adding to the climate change problem, no matter what. It seems so complicated that you shouldn't even try to recycle these. You should just stick with regular freaking plastic that can be recycled instead of going the bio route.
[00:24:51] Michael Regilio: I can't say for sure. I went to a bunch of TikTok videos of environmentally conscious TikTokers, and they're pretty much all over it. When I say over it, they're over compostable plastic. They're like, "I'm not doing it. I'm not buying this stuff anymore." I don't know what the exact science behind this was, but this one TikToker took compostable plastic. And I don't know how she got it out of an industrial compostable facility, but she was able to get some out six months later, and it wasn't really that broken down. It's so confusing, and now we know that if you, it ends up in a landfill, it releases the greenhouse gases.
[00:25:25] Jordan Harbinger: Worse for the environment than actual plastic, regular-ass oil-based plastic.
[00:25:30] Michael Regilio: I don't want to say that, but it's still really problematic. Plus, researchers at the University of Plymouth in the UK put biodegradable plastic and compostable plastic to the test and found that they didn't really meet their claims. A biodegradable plastic bag that was buried in soil for three years could still hold a load of groceries.
[00:25:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man, so biodegradable my ass, basically, is what it sounds like.
[00:25:53] Michael Regilio: Yeah. The compostable bag fared better, though it completely disappeared after only three months.
[00:26:00] Jordan Harbinger: Score one, at least, for compostable bags.
[00:26:03] Michael Regilio: Three months of being submerged in seawater, that is.
[00:26:06] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, no.
[00:26:07] Michael Regilio: The compostable bag that was buried in soil was still present after three years, but could no longer hold a bunch of groceries.
[00:26:13] Jordan Harbinger: So, if you can't get to one of the very few industrial composting sites that actually take compostable plastic, you just throw it in the fricking ocean? I hate this idea. I hate it.
[00:26:24] Michael Regilio: Look, don't throw anything in the ocean. I say, if you think these new developments in plastic have solved our plastic problem, throw out that notion.
[00:26:33] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, clever. And it rhymed. That was relatively impressive.
[00:26:38] Michael Regilio: Thank you. And by the way, this is really important research when you account for the fact that five trillion plastic bags are produced each year.
[00:26:47] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my god, I had no idea it was that many.
[00:26:49] Michael Regilio: If you laid out one year's worth of plastic bags, they'd encircle the earth seven times. And that's just one year. So it's really important to know that bioplastics are not all they're cracked up to be.
[00:27:03] Jordan Harbinger: But bioplastic must be better in some ways because it's plant based, or I feel like I'm just missing the point on this. I mean, if you take the whole fossil fuel element out of the production of plastic, is that somewhere along the supply chain better for the planet at all?
[00:27:16] Michael Regilio: I hate to be an old man, but cue the Run-DMC again because it's tricky.
[00:27:20] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:27:21] Michael Regilio: Bioplastic production produces more pollutants than plastics made from fossil fuels because of both the fertilizers and pesticides used in raising the crops and the chemicals used to turn organic material into plastic. Bioplastic production also leads to more ozone depletion than petroleum-based plastics and bioplastic production uses valuable farmland that we could be using to grow, you know, food.
[00:27:46] Jordan Harbinger: All right, I agree with this one. Cue the Run-DMC. You are not wrong. That is tricky. I agree. It's hard to wrap your mind around this. We're really trying to end run the use of fossil fuels and you just end up doing way more harm than good. And I'm also like, we need to find alternative energy, but it sounds like this is one of those things where the current method we have is maybe the best one, even though it's still gross.
[00:28:08] Michael Regilio: You're kind of right, but my takeaway is that it's just more complex than any black and white framing. Look, on the plus side, for bioplastics, a 2017 study stated that by switching from oil-based plastics to corn-based plastics would cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.
[00:28:24] Jordan Harbinger: But is that assuming they don't end up in a landfill?
[00:28:26] Michael Regilio: Yeah. And plus, there's other issues at play. I'm going to botch this name, but a scientist named Klaus Hubacek?
[00:28:34] Jordan Harbinger: Check, I think, probably.
[00:28:35] Michael Regilio: Hubacek.
[00:28:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:28:37] Michael Regilio: He co-authored a study that looked at the land, water, and carbon footprint of bioplastics and found that to replace just the plastic packaging the world uses with bioplastics would require more than half the world's corn production.
[00:28:50] Jordan Harbinger: And that's probably not going to happen. I'm not convinced bioplastics are the silver bullet. Some people had hoped they would be some people like me right before recording this podcast. I was really hoping that this was going to be one of those like, these are great and they do so much, but the problem is they're more expensive and we need to adopt these, but this is not the direction this conversation took at all.
[00:29:12] Michael Regilio: But the fact of the matter is, in my opinion, just like with renewable energies, these are steps in the right direction. We have to get off of the fossil fuel for everything with the planet. Getting off petroleum-based plastics is important. And the notion of making stuff out of plant-based products is a good one. In fact, I discovered some really cool stuff when I was researching this episode. There's real strides being made in solving the problems of flip-flops.
[00:29:37] Jordan Harbinger: Problems with flip-flops, like the shoes, you mean the problem other than making it so you can't go to the fricking store without seeing people's mangled, ugly ass feet everywhere?
[00:29:47] Michael Regilio: Yeah.
[00:29:47] Jordan Harbinger: There are people on airplanes who wear flip-flops and you can smell their feet and you're on like a four-hour flight? That's the problem with flip-flops.
[00:29:54] Michael Regilio: That's crazy. I have not come across that.
[00:29:57] Jordan Harbinger: You need to fly United, my man.
[00:29:59] Michael Regilio: I guess so.
[00:30:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:30:00] Michael Regilio: The fact that it's a pressurized cabin that you can smell anything in there, I mean, that air is just being recycled so constantly.
[00:30:06] Jordan Harbinger: That's a good point. That makes it extra gross.
[00:30:08] Michael Regilio: Yeah. Those are some smelly ass feet. Look, I hear you. And more to the point, I see your point. Flip-flops are everywhere. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that flip-flops are the most popular footwear in the world. And clearly, not because they make your feet look good.
[00:30:23] Jordan Harbinger: Right. So, it's because they're so damn cheap, right?
[00:30:25] Michael Regilio: Bingo. Yeah. Well, that's all of it. Cheap, to say the very least. On average, they're about three bucks for the cheapo flip-flops. Anything else that cheap, people feel free to discard them all the time and everywhere.
[00:30:36] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I've definitely seen a lot of flip-flops on the beach, and the more sort of east or more island-y you get, the more flip-flops there seem to be on any given beach that you can tell have been there for months or possibly years.
[00:30:49] Michael Regilio: Yeah. In fact, flip-flops are the most common pieces of marine debris found on beaches, and the numbers are actually staggering. Some estimates state that over 200 million flip-flops are discarded globally—
[00:31:02] Jordan Harbinger: Wow
[00:31:02] Michael Regilio: —each year. The non-profit environmental group Ocean's Soul estimates that 90 tons of flip-flops are discarded on the beaches of East Africa each year alone, just East Africa.
[00:31:16] Jordan Harbinger: You know what's better than algae? According to Michael Regilio, absolutely nothing, but a close second is the fine products and services that support this show. We'll be right back.
[00:31:25] This episode is sponsored in part by Airbnb. Pre-kids, we'd fly almost every week for podcast interviews and conferences. We'd stay in Airbnbs most of the time because we loved the locations and personalized stay. One of our favorite spots in LA, it was in this really sweet older couple's home and since their kids have left the nest. They converted the granny flat in the backyard into an Airbnb and it became our go to accommodation whenever we were in town doing interviews. And as regulars, we always appreciated the thoughtful touches they included. So they'd throw down a basket of snacks that Jen would eagerly dive into, they gave us a bottle of wine, a personal note, and they even started tuning in to The Jordan Harbinger Show — hey, folks. And this actually inspired us to pay the hospitality forward and convert our spare room into an Airbnb. So maybe you've stayed in an Airbnb before and you thought to yourself, "Okay, maybe I could do this. Maybe my place could be an Airbnb." It could be as simple as starting with a spare room or your entire place while you're away. You could be sitting on an Airbnb and not even know it. Perhaps you got a fantastic vacation plan for the balmy days of summer. As you're out there soaking up the sun and making memories, your house doesn't need to sit idle. Turn it into an Airbnb, let it be a vacation home for somebody else. And picture this, your little one's not so little anymore. They're headed off to college this fall. The echo in their now empty room might be a bit much to bear. So why not Airbnb it? While they're away, make some extra cash, and who knows, You might just meet some fascinating people along the way. So whether you could use a little extra money to cover some bills or for something a little more fun, your home might be worth more than you think. Find out how much at airbnb.com/host.
[00:32:54] Once again, thank you for listening to and supporting the show. All the deals are at jordanharbinger.com/deals. Please consider supporting those who support the show. And if you need a promo code, look it up on the deals page or even email me. If you're lazy, I'll look it up for you and I'll send it right over. It's that important for you to use those codes. It really is.
[00:33:11] Now for the rest of Skeptical Sunday.
[00:33:15] Are people just going to the beach, taking their flip-flops off and being like, "Screw it. I'm staying barefoot and I'm leaving these here." I guess I'm confused at how they all end up at the beach. Is it they get dumped into the ocean because they're trash and they float and it's other garbage sinks or whatever. And then they float to the beach. I'm so confused about this. Anyway, I see the problem, but I'm just not sure what this has to do with bioplastics.
[00:33:37] Michael Regilio: Flip-flops are so cheap because they're typically made from ethylene-vinyl acetate. That is to say, old-school, low-grade, crappy, fossil fuel-derived, bad for the environment stuff.
[00:33:48] Jordan Harbinger: That sounds like a very technical term to explain it, yeah. I know what you're talking about, though. Those are the kind of things you see when you have, like, a pair of disposable shower shoes that you're supposed to wear just a few times because you're at the YMCA or something. And the third time you wear them, the toe thing pops off and they're not usable anymore.
[00:34:05] Michael Regilio: Yeah, exactly. But in developing countries, this is, for a lot of people, the best shoes they can afford. So that's why they're the most popular shoes in the world, I'm guessing. And it's just a reality. And that's why it's actually really exciting that researchers are working on biodegradable flip-flop foam made from algae. And I've got news for you, Jordan. Algae, it's very exciting.
[00:34:25] Jordan Harbinger: Okay, that's not a sentiment I've heard before, but I do like saying flip-flop foam. All right, fill me in. What is so exciting about algae? Because it doesn't really make my top 10 list of exciting things. I hope there's a new scientific development here.
[00:34:40] Michael Regilio: It's about to make your top 10 list. Look, algae grows 10 times faster than terrestrial plants. So cultivation is super fast.
[00:34:47] Jordan Harbinger: Aah.
[00:34:47] Michael Regilio: Algae cultivation uses less than 10 percent of the land of terrestrial plants.
[00:34:52] Jordan Harbinger: It grows in the water, so I don't know if that's fair, but fine.
[00:34:55] Michael Regilio: Kiss those land use issues goodbye. Algae doesn't use pesticides. So that other issue with bioplastics is gone. And here's the crazy part. Even though algae does grow in the water, like you just said, algae cultivation requires less water than land crops. I'm telling you, man. I'm becoming a real algae head here.
[00:35:12] Jordan Harbinger: That is not surprising that you're becoming an algae head, but it is surprising that it requires less water because it literally grows on and in the water. You'd think it would take a ton of water. That part I don't understand.
[00:35:23] Michael Regilio: Yeah, these are the statistics that I came across, and I'm not done yet. The algae-based flip-flops that are being developed fully decompose.
[00:35:30] Jordan Harbinger: That's pretty good. I, these are actual biodegradable, compostable?
[00:35:36] Michael Regilio: In development.
[00:35:36] Jordan Harbinger: Okay. Oh, got it. Okay.
[00:35:38] Michael Regilio: Wait, there's more. And one doesn't have to farm algae at all. Some companies are harvesting algae from algal excessive waterways like the Mississippi River.
[00:35:47] Jordan Harbinger: You just wanted to say algal excessive waterways.
[00:35:50] Michael Regilio: Hey, if you're going to be an algae head, you got to know the lingo, man. Here's the super cool part. Deforestation, intensive agriculture, and wastewater treatment are feeding our waterways with a nutrient feast perfect for algae to flourish and bloom.
[00:36:04] Jordan Harbinger: I'm guessing as an algae head, you think that's a good thing?
[00:36:08] Michael Regilio: No. Of course, not. Excessive algae has harmful side effects like oxygen depletion of water and blocking sunlight from other organisms.
[00:36:15] Jordan Harbinger: Mmm.
[00:36:16] Michael Regilio: This causes the death of wildlife as well as it pollutes drinking water. That's a problem. But here's the thing. You don't need to cultivate algae at all. Companies are now turning this problem into a solution by harvesting the algae from these waterways that already have way too much algae.
[00:36:32] Jordan Harbinger: So that is pretty cool. And I suppose that makes sense. This is kind of weird, but I used to play with algae as a kid up at our cottage and pull tons of it out of the water. And sometimes I would wring it out and dry it. And it's very fibrous and hard once it's dry. And we would light it on fire or something like that, of course. And I can see this making sense, honestly, because if you dry this stuff out or not completely dry it out, It is tough as nails. You can't just grab a handful of it and pull it apart. It's really like trying to rip some very solid, if not a little bit gross and slimy fabric.
[00:37:04] Michael Regilio: Welcome to the club, man. Sounds like you're an algae head yourself.
[00:37:08] Jordan Harbinger: Sounds like I just missed it. Yeah.
[00:37:09] Michael Regilio: In addition, it's actually the naturally occurring oils that they can use in the same way that they're using the oils from petroleum and from corn.
[00:37:17] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, I see.
[00:37:18] Michael Regilio: Yeah, and there's this company Bloom. They have a machine that sucks water out of waterways with a filter that keeps fish and wildlife out. The machine filters 175 gallons of water per minute and harvests 300 pounds of algae a day. And that's just one machine. Imagine what an entire fleet of these machines could do. We could build an entire algae world, Jordan.
[00:37:40] Jordan Harbinger: Well, you are all in with algae.
[00:37:43] Michael Regilio: What was that you said earlier? Oil, bad. Plants, good. Algae is a very good plant.
[00:37:49] Jordan Harbinger: It's funny because I remember how much of a thing algae was. Like, oh, there's algae blooms and the fertilizer is running off and creating these algae blooms and it's killing all the wildlife and there's nothing we can do about it. Now, it's like, actually, we can make shoes and plastic. Now, they're going to be pumping fertilizer into random bodies of water so that they can harvest more algae.
[00:38:11] Michael Regilio: Please, no, don't do that. Yeah.
[00:38:12] Jordan Harbinger: Don't give anybody any ideas. We probably shouldn't do that. Yeah. Green slime to the rescue.
[00:38:17] Michael Regilio: I guess Nickelodeon was on to something. Look, this is all new technology and needs to be scaled like way, way up. But it is exciting.
[00:38:24] Jordan Harbinger: Is there any other promising stuff? Because we've done a pretty good job of being super freaking depressing on this episode.
[00:38:30] Michael Regilio: Okay. Yeah. Group from Columbia University is developing a way to produce biodegradable plastic from wastewater and solid waste.
[00:38:37] Jordan Harbinger: Ooh, solid waste. It sounds like you mean, yeah.
[00:38:41] Michael Regilio: Jordan, I mean, poop.
[00:38:43] Jordan Harbinger: Okay.
[00:38:44] Michael Regilio: The group is working on making plastic from our poop. It's the ultimate recycle. We buy food wrapped in plastic, eat the food, then turn it into plastic to wrap our future food.
[00:38:54] Jordan Harbinger: I don't like that at all. But if something tells you they're going to have a marketing problem with that kind of plastic.
[00:38:59] Michael Regilio: Yeah. Okay, so there's also a company in California, Full Cycle Bioplastics, which is producing bioplastics from food waste, crop residue like stalks and inedible leaves, and unrecycled paper and cardboard. Their bioplastic is not only biodegradable, but if it ends up in the ocean, it's edible and the fish can eat it.
[00:39:18] Jordan Harbinger: Since we know that fish are already eating the plastic in the ocean anyway, it is more accurate to say that the fish are eating it and then not dying as a result.
[00:39:26] Michael Regilio: True.
[00:39:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:27] Michael Regilio: And there's also a Pennsylvania-based company called RenMatrix that is using woody biomass, energy grasses, and crop residues. At Stanford University, researchers are transforming methane gas from wastewater treatment plants and landfills into bioplastic. Don't ask me about that wastewater treatment plants, I think it might be more poop.
[00:39:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, well, luckily there's never going to be a poop shortage. These do seem to be pretty good solutions. I just can't help but think that since you've said that 40 percent of all plastic produced is single-use plastic packaging, isn't one solution to just stop wrapping every gosh darn thing in plastic, biodegradable, or not?
[00:40:06] Michael Regilio: Yes, and there's some exciting research going on there as well.
[00:40:09] Jordan Harbinger: How could it be more exciting than algae, Regilio?
[00:40:11] Michael Regilio: You never forget your first love, Jordan, but surprise! A Japanese company is making non-plastic packaging material made from that greatest of all plants, algae. In this case, red algae. And I don't mean communist algae.
[00:40:25] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, literally no one thought that you meant communist algae.
[00:40:29] Michael Regilio: Another positive development is the US Department of Agriculture is developing a biodegradable and edible film from the milk protein casein to wrap food in. This new film is 500 times better at keeping food fresh than plastic wrap.
[00:40:42] Jordan Harbinger: So that all sounds pretty good. Actually it sounds really good because if it's just a milk protein and it's even better at keeping food fresh than plastic wrap, that's actually really amazing, 500 times better. Because I look at plastic and I think, nothing can get through this, it's plastic. And if something is 500 times better than that, I can't really wrap my head around that, but that all sounds really good. I can't help but think that part of the really big problem here, it's not the plastic, it's us, right? Everything's wrapped in plastic. When faced with the problem of plastic, it sounds like we're just racing to find something else to wrap everything in. And use once and then throw away. And I'm sure the people who first developed petroleum-based plastic, they weren't thinking about the plastic world they create. They were thinking of industrial uses. Since it's not metal, it's not going to rust. And since it's not wood, it's not going to rot. They weren't thinking like, oh, yeah, they're going to look at this. It's going to be handed from one person to another person who's going to immediately take the plastic off of it and throw it away. Three minutes later.
[00:41:42] Michael Regilio: Yeah.
[00:41:42] Jordan Harbinger: The whole idea of how we use plastics is wrong. Why do we need to take a chance if there's some unforeseen problem with products made from fricking algae?
[00:41:50] Michael Regilio: Hey, hey, watch it.
[00:41:52] Jordan Harbinger: Look, I know you're an algae phile or whatever. But I'm just saying rather than find something new, it seems like we really need to make a hard right turn and find a new way to do things with keeping things fresh and whatnot.
[00:42:04] Michael Regilio: Yeah, that's a really solid point. In fact, I was thinking about what you said about people going to the most remote places on earth and there's still plastic crap on the beaches. I'm a little crazy, but I was imagining aliens visiting the long dead earth sometime in the future looking around and just like in The Graduate, uttering a single word to sum it all up — plastics.
[00:42:24] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, I sure hope we never get to that, but you're right. It's like cockroaches in the nuclear holocaust. There's going to be cockroaches, plastic, and the ruins of skyscrapers and giant bridges. That's all that's going to be left.
[00:42:37] Michael Regilio: Yeah. And it might be too late to leave the next generation the earth better than we found it. But the least we can do is clean up some of the mess we left.
[00:42:45] Jordan Harbinger: Well, said. I can at least plastic wrap my head around that. And once again, a reminder here, not all is lost. You can recycle plastic bags and other plastic wrapping, single-use plastic, et cetera, at many stores, most Target stores, a lot of grocery stores, they'll take that stuff. And it's used in manufacturing something more permanent. So don't toss out that stuff just cause it doesn't go in the recycling bin. Bring it back. It does not solve our plastics problem, but it's one less bunch of plastic in a landfill. And God knows we have a ton of that every week. I've got a whole bag full of that stuff and I bet everybody else does too. So that's always positive that we can reuse that stuff again.
[00:43:22] Thank you, Michael Regilio.
[00:43:24] Michael Regilio: Thank you for having me.
[00:43:25] Jordan Harbinger: And thank you for listening topic suggestions for future episodes of Skeptical Sunday to me at email@example.com. Show notes on the website at jordanharbinger.com. Transcripts in the show notes. Advertisers, deals, discounts, and ways to support the show all at jordanharbinger.com/deals. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram or connect with me on LinkedIn. You can find Michael Regilio at @MichaelRegilio on Instagram, michaelregiliocomedy.com and on our show notes we'll link to it because nobody can spell Regilio.
[00:43:55] This show is created in association with PodcastOne.
[00:43:58] You know I could always just spell your name but I'm never going to do that now. I'm never going to actually just spell it on air.
[00:44:03] My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Ian Baird, Millie Ocampo, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Our advice and opinions are our own, and I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. Share the show with those you love, and if you found the episode useful, please do share it with somebody else who could use a good dose of the skepticism we doled out today. In the meantime, I hope you apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you learn, and we'll see you next time.
[00:44:33] And don't forget to bring back your plastics.
[00:44:36] You're about to hear a preview of The Jordan Harbinger Show about how hormonal birth control can affect a woman's personality and even influence who they pick as a partner.
[00:44:45] Sarah Hill: They found that women who are on the birth control pill, rather than experiencing a big surge in the stress hormone cortisol in response to stressful things, they don't have any increase in cortisol at all. It seems like something in the birth control pill is actually causing women's stress response to go into overdrive. And in fact, this sort of a pattern is something that we usually only see in the context of chronic stress.
[00:45:12] So for people who have, for example, PTSD, or people who, you know, grew up in the context of trauma, this isn't normal. This isn't something that we see in otherwise healthy, high functioning people. Sex hormones have their fingers in so many parts in the body that they're going to be influencing our brain because there's probably no place in the body that has more receptors for sex hormones than the brain. Our sex hormones are part of what gives us, you know, our sort of joie de vivre. It's like part of what makes life exciting and it turns the volume up and makes our whites whiter and our brights brighter in terms of our sort of experience of the world.
[00:45:55] We've been really, really cavalier about this idea that we should change a person's personality and who they are and their experiences in the world so that way they don't have menstrual cramps. We don't yet know whether or not the birth control pill is influencing the way that women's brains are being organized and there's almost no research on this. It's like nobody's really stopped to ask the questions.
[00:46:21] Jordan Harbinger: To hear more from Dr. Sarah Hill about the problems with taking birth control, check out episode 280 of The Jordan Harbinger Show.
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