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8 Reasons Why BioPlastic is Worse than Regular Plastic

So we're all getting pretty darned familiar with the arguments for and touchstoneclimbing.com against biofuels. But what about bioplastics? Since we can, theoretically, do anything with corn that we can do with petroleum, wouldn't it be better to do tramadol 150mg it with corn?

Well, not necessarily. BioPlastics are a mixed bag, and considerably more complicated than biofuels. Mostly, this is http://www.strattonpublishing.com/buy-cialis-next-day-delivery generic cheap viagra because there are about two dozen different ways to create bioplastic, and every one has different properties and capabilities.

  1. Why make stuff out of wow)) cialis india it when you can eat it? There are lots of hungry people in the world, and it seems a little odd to be making disposable cups out of the stuff when it could be being eaten. Though bioplastic definitely isn't causing an increase in the price of food, it's not impossible to imagine it.
  2. You can't always recycle it. Because bioplastics come in dozens of varieties, there's no way to make sure you're getting the right chemicals in the recycling vat. And, in general, the solution is compost instead of re-entering the supply stream.
  3. It could make plastic recycling impossible. Even worse than not being recyclable itself, if it creeps into the buy real cialis online recycling stream (which is likely, since it doesn't look any different) it can introduce new chemicals that make the final recycled product weaker or even unusable.
  4. Compostable doesn't mean compostable. If you toss a bioplastic fork into your compost and assume it'll be dirt in a few months, you'll be sorely disappointed. While bioplastic is (sometimes) compostable, it requires high intensity, high heat commercial composting.
  5. It's never made from organic corn, and generally made from genetically modified corn. And while EcoGeek doesn't have a problem with genetic modification, many other environmentally aware people do.
  6. It makes low quality plastic. Instead of solving the problem of the disposable society, bio-plastics generally can only be made into disposable items. They're having problems even making transparent bioplastic that's strong enough to inexpensive cialis hold water for a few months.
  7. It's good marketing, but bad honesty. It's very easy to have bioplastic cups or bags or forks. But it's very difficult to figure out what that means. Because there are so many different types of it's great! viagra canadian pharmacy bioplastic, you never really know what you're getting into. Maybe it's compostable, maybe it's not. Maybe it's recyclable, maybe it's not.
  8. What's wrong with storing carbon in landfills? Plastic has gotten a bad rap, for poisoning babies and strangling sea lions. But if it is used properly and ends up in the landfill, I don't see what the problem is. Creating durable products with petroleum is certainly much preferred to burning it. And while plastics factories are big polluters, bio plastics factories though better, don't get us clean either.

None of that is to say that bioplastics might not reign supreme some day, they certainly have advantages as well. They're infinitely producible and safer to burn. But until a durable, recyclable and cheap option starts to win this crazy format war, I'm staying away.

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Comments (62)Add Comment
0
Wow...
written by tristan matthews, September 02, 2008
So it is not often that I totally disagree with you hank, but I think your missing the point on this one. I really like the idea of things like corn starch high temperature compostable bio plastics not because they are necessarily better today, yes they might be worse in some ways, but because they might be better some day, and by using it now I support what might come tomorrow. I would like to some day live in a world that doesn't need oil for anything, gas or plasitis or well anything, so I would like to support that effort, and the biofuel effort, and hybride cars that might create tones of toxic battery waste, and.....
0
Well said.
written by Clinch, September 02, 2008
This is what I like about this site, you're not afraid to give both sides of the story (unlike most other green sites/organisations etc.).

I agree that all the cialis super points are problems, except 1 and 5.

Also, I disagree with the first comment, because something has potential, it doesn't mean we should ignore all its negative qualities (I hold the same view with regards to CFLs [don't get me started] and some hybrid cars [ones creating more pollution in manufacturing than they save on the road] as well).
Also, rather than wasting my time/energy/money on something that 'could potentially' be good, but is currently bad, I'd rather spend it on something that actually is good.
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...
written by Hank, September 03, 2008
@Tristan: I guess I just don't believe that something is intrinsically evil just because it's made with fossil fuels. It's not like Satan is made entirely out of hydrocarbons (though I wouldn't be surprised if he was at least part coal.)

@Clinch: I believe 1 and 5 are the weakest points as well. Funny...since they're likely to cause the most alarm. But as for spending money on something that "could potentially" be good not being effective, I completely disagree. We should be putting as many eggs as possible into as many baskets as possible.

Generally, if we're spending money on them it's because they "could potentially" be better than any other solution.
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...
written by nicster, September 03, 2008
it's definitely good to view both negative and www.accessibleadventuresvt.org positive aspects of a technology. there's a danger, though, of allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

bioplastics don't have to cheap levitra no prescription be made of tramadol over the counter in canada foodstuff. they can also be made of cellulose. these new technologies often use food as a base because it's easiest and cheapest. once initial hurdles are overcome, it's likely that they will use non-foodstuffs as their prime ingredients.

a significant advantage of bioplastics is that they are at least carbon-neutral and, at best, can sequester carbon. petro-plastics are, at best, carbon-neutral.
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Still not sure
written by Mark Kiernan, September 03, 2008
I am not so sure, at the supermarket (when i don't have my own bag) i have the choice between mater-bi (bio plastic) and plastic. I choose mater-bi and although it isn't good for many things it do use it for storing organic waste from the kitchen before putting it in the compost. The mater-bi bag does compost.
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A little misleading...
written by Ali Syme, September 03, 2008
This is a little bit of a misleading argumnt. You say why make plastics from corn when poor people can eat the corn and corn products? By the same argument, why do we earn our money and spend it on ourselves when we could give it to them?

And recycled plastic isn't thrown in a "vat of chemicals". There are techniques coming in to recycling industries that can seperate all forms of lastic - improving both industries output.

Low quality plastic? PLA actually has better sealing qualities than most plastics. What research can you show to back this up?

While there are issues with bioplastics - there are issues with recycling to. I think consumers should campaign to their supermarkets if they have an issue with their packaging. Blaming an industry in its entirety won't help.
..., Low-rated comment [Show]
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bioplastics and food
written by mark, September 03, 2008
1.Bioplastic bags allow for the collection of food and other organic waste to be composted into nutrient rich top soils to be used by farmers to grow more food. 30% of US landfills are filled with organic waste. Bioplastics help divert this large portion from landfills.
2.bioplastics arent intended to by recycled, unless you count composting as recycling.
3.less than 2% of plastic bags get recycled. PE is by far a bigger corrupter of composting efforts than bioplastic is of recycling of PE.
4. astm6400 (USA) standard clearly defines what is compostable.
5.organic and gmo are two different subjects
6. Clearly you havent seen PLA bottles?
7.astm6400!!
8.storing carbon in landfills?? anerobic decomposition (no oxy) creates methane (bad greenhouse gas) removing organics from landfills for biogas and composting takes organic waste back to nature properly.
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toxic waste
written by Christopher Reeve, September 03, 2008
One point I don't hear raised often is the difference in toxicity between traditional plastics and the good compostable plastics. If plastic was rock, who would care if it decomposed or not. The problem is that plastic contains chemicals that effect reproduction and quality of life. In a way it is a good thing that plastic does not degrade faster because otherwise it would get into our water in higher concentrations. The advantage of compostable plastics is that their when they do break down they are not toxic.

There is also a vast amount of plastic finding its way into the sea. What happens is that it gets broken down into smaller particles and can be eaten by small creatures and find its way up the food chain. Something like 20% of a handful of sand at the waterline at southern british beaches has been found to be plastic. I don't think the full impact of this problem has yet been realised.

As an example, see http://news.nationalgeographic...astic.html
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...
written by Julian, September 03, 2008
Regarding point 1 (corn for eating): the problem is not that there's a shortage of food, or that corn will not suffice. The problem with hungry people is purely economic, thousands of millions lack the needed acquisitive power to have access to good food or basic food growing resources.

India is self-sufficient in its food production, but a third of its people is hungry. And I don't think they waste it in bioplastics or biofuel.

I see no point in burning edible material (or using land to produce fuel when it could be used to produce food), but I think bioplastics could be a sustainable product.
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Good for you
written by Lisa, September 03, 2008
"Lots of heat" is right- but i totally agree with you on this one Hank. When a local Organic Espresso Bar gave me my iced mocha in a "bioplastic" cup the barista went on and on about how their coffee shop had decided to make a statement blah blah. When i asked him if i could just put my cup in my compost bin (since it is a bylaw to compost here) he announced- "Well the city's composting system isn't set up for bioplastics yet- so no". I asked him if i had a regular in my yard compost bin- would it compost: "well no- you need high intensity heat to begin composition". SO- my cup went into the landfill. instead of being recycled like a regular plastic cup would have. OR better yet- i could have gotten my mocha in a glass cup. I would rather make a statement knowing that i'm not adding to the landfill or carbon footprint.
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...
written by phil_style, September 03, 2008
The problems with bioplastics highlight the more system issues associated with our cosumerism. Simply moving our consumption to new products may wind up resulting in further unanticipated environmental effects. What are the tricks to less consumption, rather than shifted consumption?
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hmm...
written by Lobo, September 03, 2008
wow this is a lot to think about- especially for people new to all of this "going green"... my situation has an even more special twist as I read all of your wonderful articles and commentaries from a city in the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico, where there is an enormous trash problem- not even beginning to mention the non-existence of "recycling". here it is hard to even count on the city to always send the trash men. it is hard to make people not throw bags and bottles on the ground- even though here is home to the unique "cenote" system of freshwater sinkholes- which are gorgeous and pristine and unfortunately adorned with pieces of plastic!! (thank goodness the majority aren't).. i just wanted to say that it is just refreshing to read both sides of the argument- as here like i mentioned, i feel we are light-years away from ever having this discussion... thank you all for your opinions and if you ever want to include even more insightful websites i try to keep my eyes on the lookout!! peace and light..
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...
written by Kurt, September 03, 2008
When we run out of oil....Then you will see true world hunger!

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Weakest analysis of bioplastics - ever
written by Jonas, September 03, 2008
Wow, this must be one of the weakest analyses of bioplastics ever.

1. there is no food crisis, and those who do go hungry are farmers, who would stand to benefit by alternative markets that bring in incomes. This has been well-established by agronomists and development scientists alike: bioenergy, biofuels and bioplastics can help end hunger, by providing farmers with new opportunities.

You obviously are not aware of the fact that 75% of the world's hungry people are farmers, who go hungry because of a lack of investments and income, not because of a lack of food.

2. bioplastics can be made any starch or sugar source, even from grass and other cellulosic feedstock. So stop obsessing about corn. And please stop generalising: corn bioplastics are not "bioplastics" in general.

So please change the title of your article.

3. composting is far more sensible than recycling. Recycling materials is the worst option of all possible carbon- and energy-management options. Recycling is not part of the 'cradle to cradle' idea; bioplastics that are food for new crops, are.

4. petro-plastics kill the environment and life. Bioplastics dont.

5. letting petro-plastics decay in landfill means throwing away petroleum. Bioplastics are a closed cycle of biomaterials that can be perpetually renewed.

Djee, amateurs like the person who writes this blog should really know when they are totally incompetent to talk about certain issues.
0
Wow
written by Jess Woods, September 03, 2008
I had absolutely no idea! Very enlightening article indeed.

Jess
www.anonymize.us.tc
0
...
written by Natural back pain help, September 03, 2008
We should make stuff out of smug greenie people, I want my plastic bags to last a millenia, not fall apart as I walk down the street from the store with bottles of booze in them.
0
Bullsh|t
written by Anon, September 03, 2008
It's renewable. Shut up.
0
Cool
written by idunno, September 03, 2008
I never knew that, cool
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to Jonas...
written by Lobo, September 03, 2008
wow you are very mean and negative and that's great that your opinions are different but you could present them courteously and with some sort of energy that hints at the idea that you would actually enjoy saving the world.. also, are you saying there is no hunger crisis??? every human being on this planet has food? really??? well anyway- maybe you are right and the editor's wrong but thanks also (sarcasm) for just sending out a lot of negative energy... which is just as powerful as all of the plastics/bioplastics/greenplastics/purpleplastics that we can physically touch... thanks a lot... you makes these comments a joy to read... just present your own information but why the negativity?? and what do you do?? why are you so confident that your information is correct?? we can't leave egos out of these discussions??
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Hrm.
written by Jay, September 03, 2008
#1 is a terrible argument, because it assumes that the corn grown for bioplastic is edible to start with, which it isn't. Industrial grade production corn used for ethanol and bioplastics is not what you think of as sweet corn or the corn you use for cooking and such.

Industrial grade corn as a foodstuff is only edible after heavy refinement, such as making high fructose corn syrup, etc, and there are plenty of arguments against that as well.
0
Quick fixes in a me now society
written by Mick Russom, September 03, 2008
The same is true of Murdercury (Mercury) compact fluorescent light bulbs.

If we are going to go green, we seriously need to investigate who is behind these campaigns to dupe the unsuspecting public into thinking we are doing the right thing but are supporting the oligarchies and military industrial complex.

GE makes a lot of money on CF bulbs, but they wont pay for Murdercury/Mercury cleanup, the taxpayers will in more ways than one, money and with mentally defective children.
0
...
written by Biscuits, September 03, 2008
Isn't this the same blog that said that widespread adoption of CFL's would have no meaningful impact on energy consumption?
0
Wow.
written by Mitch, September 03, 2008
What is it about trying to improve the environment that makes people so crabby?

Improvements are improvements! You only make progress through criticism and judging a subject's very weakest points.
0
...
written by Hannah, September 03, 2008
The problem with plastic being in landfills is that eventually we will run out of room.

Maybe the answer is to try and quit using plastic (bio or otherwise) as much as possible.
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No clue whatsoever
written by dude, September 03, 2008
Well that was a horrible article with little if any substance. Let's go into some details here

Bioplastics can come from a variety of sources, polylactic acid is a renewable fermentation product, you don't recycle it, it decomposes in landfills (not composts), aka, like chemically treated paper. Other polymers are made either using byproducts of the food process or chemicals like starch, (80% of starch is not used in food but industrial applications). I cannot think of one biopolymer that is recycled, but all will process in the recycling stream based on glass transition and other physical parameters, not chemistry. Lastly, the quality is inferior to most rigid polymers, however it is more than suitable for 70% of plastic applications.

Seriously, were you trying to stir controversy or are you really that arrogantly clueless.
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...
written by Green Me, September 03, 2008
While you do make some interesting points, I don't think this issue is cut and dried.

First off, I live in a community with industrial composting, and so many businesses are buying compostable ware (corn, bagasse, cellulose, etc.) and composting it with food waste. This is great and diverting lots of waste from the landfill.

Second, there may be bioplastics out there that are not compostable or that are made from GMO corn, but the primary sales source for compostable ware in our area is Eco Products and the last time I researched what they sold the corn products clearly stated that they were not made from GMO corn and that they were indeed compostable.

Thirdly, I have an Earth Machine composter and I have put in compostable corn cups, bagasse plates, egg cartons, corn straws, and corn forks and although it takes them a while -- in 4 to 6 months they do compost even in my home set-up.

And lastly, our local recycling group EcoCycle which is staffed by some hard core greenies even sells compostable ware for Zero Waste events. Maybe they are pulling the wool over my eyes, but these folks live for the environment, so I have a hard time believing they'd support compostable ware if it was as bad as you claim it to be. Perhaps you could contact a staff member at Eco Cycle and present them with your above ideas. Talk it over and then get back to us with your final analysis.

Thanks for not just believing something is green because that is how it is marketed, at the same time, don't ditch compostables just yet.
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Stirring controversy is good- it encoura
written by Lisa, September 03, 2008
Like all solutions there are negatives and positives. I would like to think that I am able to intelligently decide what products would be worth investment/purchasing to better our environment.
Bioplastics aren't perfect. Hank's point being. What he did in fact do was make us all discuss and think about what we are being told.
In my Canadian city where we already have governemnt funded programs set up for recycling AND composting and everyone is legally required to do both- bioplastics have absolutely NO place. No matter that they don't use petroleum, that they are renewable, that they "can" be composted- they aren't. Because the reality is that the system isn't ready to process bioplastics realistically.

The result: everyday people are being sucked into purchasing drinks/bags/products made of bioplastics (or containers) and these products end up in the landfill where the consumer is led to believe that it was the "greener" choice.

An analytical question would be: Should Bioplastics be the all encompassing answer that the media would have us believe?

Also- there is world hunger, and anyone who claims otherwise is obviously privelidged. Doesn't the US have one of the highest poverty rates for economical status?? Canada is up there too.
0
douching your blog
written by pissonwaterfountains, September 03, 2008
e= Environmentalism
m= Money

Therefore, m>e

Get it?


0
Yea, you guys couldn't be more wrong.
written by Matt, September 03, 2008
You're entire article is based off the idea that today's bio industry is somehow representative of all future bio industry, when in fact the industries today are just subsidized pilot programs.

If you knew anything about biofuels or bioplastics you'd realize EVERYTHING is moving to algae oil.

Algae oil doesn't need fresh waster, doesn't use crop land, and uses 3 times the CO2 that land based crops do.

We can meet domestic oil need with only a few million of America's 2.3 billion acres and be completely energy independent.

The question is.. Why don't more people know ?

Why doesn't Obama or even the money hungry GOP realize how much money there is to be made by taking this market by storm.

We've had studies showing the viability of algae oil all the way back to 1970's. With today's technology and a high density design we can produce 100 times more oil per acre than soy, corn or even palm.

How do you guys not already know this stuff ? You called eco-geeks.

What do you do with your time other than read about renewable energy and such ?

Everything is pointing to algae oil as a real industry not a government experiment. They can even produce gasoline from the oil now, not just diesel. I believe they have a jet engine that runs on it as well.


HELLO EARTH TO PEOPLE..... ALGAE IS AN ANCIENT AND REFINED ORGANISM THAT IS MADE UP AS MUCH AS 50% OIL.

What more of a solution do you need? Do you need the algae to grow little hoses and pumps too ?

The world is just a bunch of retards to me. I can't help it. It's like in spaceballs the movie when Martin Short said...

I knew it... I'm surrounded by assholes.


0
corny
written by you, September 03, 2008
you must look at the big picture... a certain amount of fossil fuels go into the transportation of corn and also in the processes they use to make the fertilizers they use on the corn.
0
Airsoft/Paintball
written by Cerebrate, September 03, 2008
I've found probably the best idea for biodegradable plastic is outdoor activity things like paintball and airsoft. The problem with using regular plastic in these activities for your ammo is that it won't degrade, and just causes pollution. Using a biodegradable plastic for a (shell and paint) paintball and airsoft bb is an excellent idea, as they will soon be gone, and not stay there, polluting the area.
0
Advice
written by Ace V., September 04, 2008
I am trying to make the right changes in my life for the environment. I use biobags ( http://www.biobagusa.com/ ) which you can get at Whole Foods, order online or from many other natural-type stores. They use non-GMO corn that is biodegradable and compostable. I use it for my garbage collection (it usually takes 2 bags since small holes open at the bottom). I live in an apartment building and have no means of composting. And I try and minimize my garbage to just food waste and recycle everything else.

Is it better for the environment to just buy the usual glad or store brand plastic bags instead?

also, someone mentioned certain hybrids being particularly bad for the enviornment. Mind spilling the beans on which ones you are referriing to? thanks.
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#8 is flawed
written by Josh, September 04, 2008
Think about what you are saying in #8. Yes, presented with a plastic fork, you can amortize the release of the carbon it contains over 100 years by burying it in the ground. Using this in an argument against bio-plastics has two huge flaws:

1. The relevant question would be lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions including the manufacturing of the plastic fork. Stating that you can defer CO2 emissions on an existing plastic fork by burying it is quite irrelevant to the argument you are trying to make.

2. You are ignoring the reality that much non-recycled plastic is dealt with by incineration, greatly accelerating the CO2 release from plastic disposal. Additionally since landfills aren't limitless, filling landfills up with plastic will increase the attractiveness of other disposal options (namely incineration) for the portion of non-recycled plastic in the future.

-Josh
0
Um, no.
written by Adam Knapp, September 04, 2008
#8 is nonsensical. Petroleum based plastics involve extracting carbon (in oil) from the ground. Growing plants for bioplastics remove carbon from the atmosphere. There are carbon emissions involved in the making of each; increasing the carbon output in both cases. Even still, when petrol- and bio-plastics are landfilled, the atmospheric carbon balance is clearly in bioplastic's favor. Depending on the exact energy required to produce it, landfilling bioplastic may in fact be a carbon sink while landfilling petrol plastic can never be even carbon neutral.
#2 and #3 are also common problems with many types of petrol plastics.
Finally, on #4: tree branches and sticks degrade at similar rates to bioplastic. Yes, it's slow but you really don't want it to degrade quickly. If bioplastic degraded as fast as food scraps you would have to refrigerate your sporks.
0
Why does bio-anything have to keep comin
written by erichansa, September 04, 2008
Why does bio-anything have to keep coming from corn? If you want folks to get behind it use something that isn't a food source. Most bio-based products can be produced from cellulose and can get that from algae.
0
...
written by Bryant, September 04, 2008
I keep reading on blog after blog that if only we would compost everything all would be right with the world. Funny how no thought seems to be given to the magnitude of the land required to move from landfilling waste and, as noted in some of the comments above, recycling to composting.
Please note, what is now compacted in landfills will be uncompacted above ground for at least 180 days (really longer because ASTM6400 states that only 90% of material needs to degrade to meet the standard). Food contaminated waste pose special vermin problems. Odor is another constant problem. There is already a huge NIMBY problem in siting waste management facilities this would become an ever growing issue. If you want to see just how problematic this idea truly is, just watch what is going to happen in Seattle in the next few years, as the effects of laws recently passed on plastic foodservice products and plastic bags are realized. Pushed by the mayor and passed by the City Council based on the premise that the alternative materials would not be landfilled but composted, it will not be long before reality sets in and backtracking on the results will be required. But then, it will be a new mayor and City Council and they will not be responsible for having created the issue.

It's funny how there are always unintended negative consequences resulting from the efforts to make things be what we want them to be rather than what they really are.
0
Hank you are the devil
written by Charle, September 05, 2008
Hank, you are the devil
0
Thank You all!!!
written by Jim, September 11, 2008
While I enjoy reading differing opinions about bio-products.....
I see a few responses that fall partially in line with my thinking on the issue.
First there is hunger in the world and there always will be (get over it people - some people will not change).

Second and more to the point is cellulose based products. Algae is one of the best for some things, Industrial Hemp which is workable for many products with existing equipment with very minor modification (ie can be put into use immediately).

And thirdly, to all who read and posted here THANK YOU, by arguing one side or another or supporting someone else you have started the process of making a difference.
For that I thank you.
0
I don't understand
written by Rachel, October 02, 2008
I'll never understand why the world is so negligent that we have to "develop" new products as a solution rather than individuals taking preventative steps toward progress. Never the less, what about recycled cardboard chopsticks as utensils? They'd need to be coated with some sort of wax but, couldn't they still be recycled?
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Toxicity
written by Vert2Go, October 23, 2008
As I was reading the article and then the accompanying blog, it struck me as odd that no one was taking into account the differing levels of toxicity between petroleum based plastic and PLA. That is until Christopher's note. I'd like to expand on that if I may. It's important to note that whether or not PLA makes it to the dump or to a compost, whether it breaks down in 6 months or 60 years, it isn't off gasing nasty chemicals into the earth, ocean or living organism and thereby coming back to haunt us in our food chain or water supply. The worst thing about traditional plastics are the fact that they are poisonous. Bioplastics are not.
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Edible Cups and Utensils
written by crocketman, November 06, 2008
Hemp possibly could be pressed or formed for cups and utensils (not the bags).

see: http://www.hemp.org/blog.html

Edible for sure and nutritious too. But as typical the BS curveball on hemp will be tossed around a long time - until more people figure the BS out.
0
...
written by Tim Dunn, January 22, 2009
There are a lot of problems with PLA - If we made all of the plastic disposable items used in the world every year, it would take one hundred million tons of corn to make it. That would lead to mass starvation in the third world, as that represents at least 10% of the world's grain supply. Also, in landfills, PLA exudes methane when it decomposes-and methane is a potent greenhouse gas. It also takes a huge amount of diesel to grow, fertilize, ship, and process this corn. As a practical matter, it is also not recyclable. The alternative? Oxo-biodegradable plastics. See http://biogreenproducts.biz for full information. -Tim Dunn
0
Woah hold on
written by soapbox, February 02, 2009
TO: Natural back pain help

Woah woah, bio-plastic bags are just as durable as regular plastic bags, trust me, I can carry a 40 of OE (or even cram 5 in there) all the way to my place just fine.
0
...
written by Erick, May 25, 2009
There's a few things I've researched about bioplastics that I can say you're right about but I think you might be nit picking.

1. Agriculture is actually slowly becoming in danger as land is becoming less and less usable for crops due to our overusage of these lands. Additionally, resources such as water to grow plants are becoming scarce in many places. Some environmentalists believe that depending on plants for alternative energy or in this case bioplastics can negatively impact the agriculture sector.

2 & 3. Bioplastics are not meant to be recycled although you are making a good point. Composting resources need to become more publicly available for such products. For now, it seems to be more convenient to use bioplastics (like bioplastic utensils) in restaurants where they can be collected as in loads.

6. I disagree with you on this part. Most bioplastics items are meant to be for short term use. The main argument against non-biodegradable plastics is that they're used for short term use but can take many years to decompose. If you're looking for long term use, then you should not be using bioplastics.

Overall I think the concept of bioplastics is great but I think it is still underdeveloped. Recommended solutions to make the product better are (1) making compost factories more publicly available, (2) attempt recyclable bioplastics.

Funny to stumble upon this while I'm researching when I regularly watch you on youtube. Hi Hank!
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...
written by Grenade, June 01, 2009
I have many thoughts about this discussion, comments and contrary opinions.

One point, concerning #1: Why make stuff out of it when you can eat it?

I find it interesting that noone has mentioned the enormous quantity of grain (corn) that is wasted to feed livestock for meat production.

As far as i'm concerned, bioplastic is a fledgling industry, and poses a far less threat to food resources than the production of meat.

Despite meat also being a food source, it is in my opinion, at least at current consumption levels, an unsustainable one.

People do not need to eat meat - or at least, such large quantities of meat.

Curently, approximately 40% of the world's grain (670 million tons) goes to feed livestock in order to produce meat for consumption.

Approximately 7kg's of grain produce 1kg of meat.

The statistics are staggering what could be achieved, if even just a small percentage of this grain was allocated to alleviate food insecurity.

Potentially, if people ate less meat, there would be more grain available for food, energy, and bioplastic production.

If bioplastic production were to stop on the premise that the grain should be allocated for food; there is no assurance that this grain would not be used to feed livestock in order produce meat.

Meat is not only less sustainable in terms of the energy to mass ratio of its production, but also because it consumes vast amounts of resources and generates vast amounts of pollution.

Additionally, meat is a food of the affluent, and most of the world's starving do not benefit from its production. Not that anyone actually benefits from an indulgent meat-diet; the correlation between cancer/heart disease and excessive meat consumption are strong.

Anyway, just a comment of interest in response to point #1.

One other comment in response to the rather hot-headed post by Matt in september 2008.

Algae is not a panacea for the world's energy/ climate change problems. There is no cure-all. A combination of the world's current and prospective renewable energy technologies will have to be harnessed and effectively distributed if we are to reign-in the adverse impacts of modern lifestyles on the world's climate system.

Bioplastics could well be one of those technologies, if supported and developed appropriately in time.

... I realise i'm almost a year late on this discussion.

oh well.

This is rad though - I recently got internet.

bye.
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There are a lot of misconceptions
written by Tim Dunn, July 22, 2009
Actually, the part of oil used to make plastic is a byproduct of fuel production, and most of this would go to waste if it weren't turned into plastic. This fraction of oil is called light naphtha, and it's too volatile for most other uses. You can also make conventional plastic biodegrade in landfills-see http://biogreenproducts.biz to learn more. The carbon issue aside, making food into plastic isn't a morally acceptable idea when a billion people are hungry every day--naturally, this idea originated with huge amoral corporation - Dow Chemical Co. - now carried forward by another, Cargill, Inc.
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Plastic is pollution reusable cottn bag is sollution
written by Ecotrendbags, September 20, 2009
The Earth has been facing immense pollution from our garbage and consumption. The latest deadly pollution is plastic bags that fill up the landfills. With plastic bags becoming a growing concern, cotton canvas bag has become the new way to help stop the pollution.
With plastic bag pollution being a rising concern, many shoppers need to start using reusable cotton canvas bags in order to stop the pollution.
Plastic bag pollution is very deadly and takes hundreds of years to break down. Even if the component is broken done, the deadly chemicals will go into the ground and water system. By reducing the usage of plastic bag, Earth can recuperate. That's why cotton bags should be used world wide to help reduce the pollution.
It is our generation to stop the pollution and start using cotton canvas bags as the solution. With global warming going out of hand from gas exhaustion, we don't need any more problems especially plastic bags that are harmful when broken down naturally. These broken down elements cause sickness and destruction to the air, soil and water system.
Use cotton canvas bags starting today as a way to stop the plastic pollution that is becoming a major threat to the environment. Our lives are threatened ever more from the growing usage of plastic bags. It is time you bring a canvas bag to shopping the next time you go to a supermarket.
Please learn more at http://www.ecotrendbags.com/
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Very good debate
written by Christen, January 13, 2010
I see that the article has come up with good points, and the arguments and counter arguments are also very good points. This debate shows a very high level of understanding in the community now, do we continue, or modify our behaviour or go the alternative rout, or will it be a mixture of all. Keep it up ECOGeek . smilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gifsmilies/smiley.gif
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BioPlastic Benefits
written by Maria, February 09, 2010
First of all, I'd like to point out that bioplastics can be made much more efficiently from algae than from corn. That is the trend research is taking these days. Not only can good quality plastics be created that are useful for many things, but it can help the environment too. Algae consumes massive amounts of CO2. So if it is grown near powerplants or industries that have high carbon emissions (like maybe the plants that are still making the petroleum based plastics for our more durable goods) it can consume the CO2 released causing a net zero carbon emission from the process. Hmmm... maybe we can have our cake and eat it too. Algae can produce anywhere from 15 to 300 times the ethanol per acre than edible crops and has no impact on the world food supply. For that matter, algae is a great source of all kinds of nutrients hungry people might need. So what exactly is the problem with bioplastics?
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***PRODUCT RELEASE FROM BIRCHWARE***
written by Robert Waddell, February 26, 2010
Available now for Purchase on Amazon.com

Our products eliminate landfill waste while providing you with a unique dining experience. Birchware utensils are manufactured from farm raised birch trees. They contain no dyes, bleaches, or glazes and are completely compostable.

Birchware unlike bio-plastics does not require the use of a commercial compostier. Since Birchware contains only 100% farmed raised birch trees it will completely biodegrade in any type compostier in less than 60 days.

In the hospitality industry the chance to impress your customers may only come but once. Being Green is a very relevant issue in today’s marketplace. Birchware is the best environmental option with an unmatched elevated aesthetic when compared to other green products. Choose the compostable alternative to bio-plastics that shows your guest you care.
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Okay then
written by Riziki and a person, November 09, 2011
smilies/wink.gifAlright calm down you tree hugging weirdo. JK very good information xsmilies/grin.gif
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written by Jesse, July 19, 2012
You're an idiot. These reasons are the sort of thing I'd expect a 10 year old to come up with.
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written by Jesse, July 19, 2012
Braskem makes bio plastics from sugar cane, a sugar cane is not enough nutrition for anyone to survive on.
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written by kiai, July 20, 2012
We need more algae production. Algae can grow in wastewater, give us biofuel, give us polymers to synthesize, and takes up much less real estate than corn. And we need more trans fat oil to keep our engines churning, like Green Earth Technology's (GETG).
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Bioplastics and Petroleum
written by Mr. Bear, December 10, 2012
What I find silly is that people consider plastic made from plants to be bioplastics, but plastic made from petroleum is not considered to be bioplastic.

Petroleum is itself a biological product.

Sigh.
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Compostable tableware and bags
written by Maria, May 30, 2013
There is a lot of true facts in the article, however, some facts are probably missing. Tons of small plastic items like shopping bags, tableware, food packaging never get recycled as well as the products made of couple of different materials like paper cups are made of paper coated with plastic. For these categories, compostable bio-plastics with no petrol content are a very good solution. There is an amazing presentation on that: http://agreenproducts.ca/news/...packaging/
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written by muskan, December 22, 2013
look i find this article complete nonsense since iam a student i really feel if awaeness is nt created in youth then how will oour nxt generation be aware..........
to the writter i would suggest that plz do nt create nusence amng people.. thnkuu
smilies/angry.gifsmilies/angry.gifsmilies/angry.gifsmilies/cool.gif
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Very interesting
written by Pete, January 09, 2014
You have an interesting point of view, even though there is a certain point where I don't follow you, see for plastic recycling you need several processes that use lots of water and hard chemicals in order to make this plastic re-enter the supply stream as you call it, for the rest very interesting thoughts.
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written by Amy, February 02, 2014
You seem to be unaware of switchgrass. Switchgrass grows pretty much anywhere, is drought resistant, and grows quickly; and since it isn't a primary food source, using it for bioplastics won't affect food prices. smilies/tongue.gif
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written by A Student, February 06, 2014
What an ignorant article.
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written by Richard, March 13, 2014
Hemp is also another viable option like switchgrass.

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