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Biodegradable Garbage Bags

 
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Mats
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2008 2:08 pm    Post subject: Biodegradable Garbage Bags Reply with quote

In my work as a planner I had occasion to visit developments on former land fill sites. It was always shocking to see the buried materials that would never degrade. By far the most prevalent material was plastic garbage bags. Their life span seems infinite. It was therefore exciting to see biodegradeable bags for sale at our local supermarket. Of course nothing new like this comes without a price. These 35 litre bags were selling for $0.79 CAD each. Still, a substitute for the regular oil-based plastic bags are now available. It's up to individual consumers to decide what the future is worth to them.



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ejm
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2008 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Biodegradable Garbage Bags Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
It's up to individual consumers to decide what the future is worth to them.


We've just been reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan and are quite disturbed by the section on corn. Even more disturbing is the fact that so many farmers are opting to grow corn for fuel rather than food. I'm assuming (correct me if I'm wrong) that the biodegradable bags are made from "fuel" corn.

Granted, they are a better alternative to petrol-oil based plastic but still....

We have recently started wrapping our wet garbage in newspaper. We're amazed at how much the wet garbage does NOT stink. Even though we've just gone through a heat wave.

I fully realize that paper isn't necessarily a good alternative either, considering that trees, while renewable, take a considerable time to grow. But if we're recycling our paper anyway, using a few sheets to wrap wet garbage doesn't seem like a bad thing. The newprint will break down into compost, especially because it's being helped along by being quite wet by the time the garbage collectors retrieve it from our green box.



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Mats
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PostPosted: Thu 24 Jul, 2008 5:38 pm    Post subject: You are right Reply with quote

I guess in making choices between less than perfect solutions, we should look to the one that does least harm. Growing corn for non food purposes may not be the best idea; growing trees for paper production may be a better idea; making trees into paper is a pretty messy business tho' - lots of water pollution necessary.

All hard choices.



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Lawless in Lotusland
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PostPosted: Sat 02 Aug, 2008 3:46 pm    Post subject: Re: You are right Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
...hard choices.


I learned that some of the compostable plastic bags are plastic with an additive that causes them to break down into C02, H20 and "biomass"

See http://www.epi-global.com/en/products/biodegradable.htm

But it's pretty clear that deforestation is a bit problem, particularly in low latitude places. https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2006/NR-06-12-02.html



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David
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PostPosted: Sun 03 Aug, 2008 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the Austrians have the right idea. They have a massive forestry industry but thanks to a law that requires two trees to be planted for every one felled they have more trees now than 200 years ago.
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Mats
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Aug, 2008 11:51 am    Post subject: Solution for All re-newable resources Reply with quote

Those clever Austrians - why not a global law that requires replacing two of every one re-newable resource that you harvest (e.g. two fingerlings for every fish that you harvest) ?



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