Saturday, August 16, 2008

Biodegradable - A Win-Win Solution

Finally, companies are beginning to make biodegradable products for items that will only be used for a finite time. What a win-win situation!! These items can do their job and then be composted; so, they do not linger for eternity in a landfill or add dangerous toxins to our environment.

I will be adding the websites of some of the companies that are on the cutting edge of this newly-discovered niche; so, anyone who is interested can drop in on the sites and learn more.

Cereplast Compostables (
www.cereplast.com/product.php) has a full range of biodegradable cutlery and other foodservice items. Their resins are renewable, ecologically-sound substitutes instead of the traditional polluting petroleum-based plastics we use now. These resins replace nearly 100% of the petroleum-based additives used in plastics today.

These resins are starch-based, made from corn, wheat, tapioca and potato starches that come primarily from the US Midwest (versus oil from the Middle East). They have a cutlery line made almost entirely from corn. These products break down in less than 180 days when placed in an industrial compost facility. Perhaps one of the major benefits is that because composting is a natural process, carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) is released into the soil instead of the atmosphere. Two other benefits are noteworthy: 1) the variety of starch options available, the price can remain relatively stable; and, 2) the manufacturing process for these resins takes place at a lower heat than used with petroleum-based plastic thereby lowering the manufacturing costs.

Genpak (
www.harvestcollection.genpak.com) handles a wide variety of biodegradable and compostable items aimed at the foodservice industry. They carry compostable food containers, compostable cups and compostable dinnerware. In places such as Universities, food fairs and other places where food is regularly served to the customer in a styrofoam container (that is used once and then hits the landfill); these compostable items are not only less expensive; but, they compost easily thereby reducing the strain on the landfills. Genpak uses resins containing polylactic acid or PLA proteins obtained from potatoes, wheat or rice as well as other bio-based materials.

Earth Straws Inc. (
www.earthstraws.com/) Biodegradable drinking straws and stirrers are produced with renewable, starch-based resins that make the product a less expensive and ecologically-sound alternative to conventional polypropylene straws. These products are 100% biodegradable and compostable requiring only 180 days to fully decompose.

Eco Products (
www.ecoproducts.com) has developed bio bags. There are compostable and biodegradable lawn & leaf bags; trash bags and can liners; and dog waste bags. They have a huge variety of foodservice trays (3 compartments, sushi trays, hinged herb containers, deli takeaway tubs) and some are made from sugar cane.

EnviroArc (
www.enviroarc.com) For gardening enthusiasts (that’s me!!) a line of biodegradable pots have been developed. Now instead of disturbing sensitive roots by having to remove the plant from the pot before sending that pot to the landfill; you just plant the pot AND the plant in the soil. The pot composts giving your plants a more comfortable growing environment without the shock that comes from removing them from the pot before planting.

EcoFuture BHD (http://www.ecofuture.com/) is an environmental-conservation and technology-based company situated in Malaysia. They have managed to find a use for the oil palm biomass (empty fruit bunches – EFBs). This is the previously unused refuse which is left over from the Group’s milling operations. This resource is reclaimed and recycled into biodegradable products such as foodstuff containers. Metro-Knight, a subsidiary of EcoFuture converts palm oil biomass (an ecologically sustainable agricultural residue) into pulp. This pulp is used to manufacture various types of paper and paper-based products. The pulp is chlorine-free and low in lignins.

I thought it only fitting the final entry is from Everlife Memorials (http://www.everlifememorials.com/
). They sell a wide variety of biodegrable urns and biodegradable cremation urns. Each urn is made from recyclable materials and painted with water-soluble colours. These urns are environmentally friendly, biodegrade within hours, days or a year (depending on urn), and are ideal whether it is a land or sea burial. They also have biodegradable urns for pet ashes.

1 comment:

Joseph McCabe said...

Hello Pippa,

I think this is a great post and I appreciate you mentioning our biodegradable urns. We will be adding some new bio urns in the coming months. It is a good thing that people now have an option to leave this world in "green style".

BTW, I noticed that the link you placed to the Everlife Memorials homepage is not working properly. It looks as though it was coded incorrectly. Try linking to (http://www.everlifememorials.com) or for a more direct path to the actual bio urns page try (http://www.everlifememorials.com/biodegradable-urns-s/100.htm).

Thanks again for the mention and good luck.