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Re: [greenyes] Plastic from corn?

In Reaching for Zero: The Citizens' Plan for Zero Waste in NYC released in June of this year the NYC Zero Waste Campaign took a look at the issue as it was raised by one of the participating organizations known as Pop Sustainability . The Campaign was generally supportive of the technology with specific reservations about the GMO factor. To the best of our knowledge GMO corn is only used because the manufacturer is otherwise heavily involved in GMO corn - nothing led us to believe that corn-based plastics had to use GMO corn. The issue for this listserve is not whether we've addressed our use of petroleum and the larger sustainable energy issues, but rather whether we've reduced waste. By supporting a change in packaging to corn-based plastics and the subsequent need for organic decomposition programs, I think this technology could help us make great strives toward capturing the much broader organics
recovery issue and encourage those on this listserve to consider your nuanced support for this technology.

Timothy J.W. Logan
Lead Organizer for the NYC Zero Waste Campaign

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 10:00:28 -0700
To: Matthew Cotton <mattcotton@no.address>
From: Anne Peters <annep@no.address>
CC: Pat Franklin <pfranklin@no.address>, D Hughes
<djhughes@no.address>, Jenny Gitlitz <jenny.gitlitz@no.address>,
"Maine, Bruce" <Bruce.Maine@no.address>, greenyes <greenyes@no.address>
Subject: Re: [greenyes] Plastic from corn?
Message-ID: <41ACA72C.6080207@no.address>

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Matthew, a cynic might say the point of bio-based plastics is to make
big bucks for the big corporations who manufacture them, not to
Also, as markets for tradable renewable/greenhouse gas reduction
credits evolve worldwide, there's probably discussion that companies
substituting bio sources for non-renewable sources for plastic
manufacture will own the credits that accrue from that bioplastic,
adding to its value.

Once again, we do have a manufacturer not really too concerned about
end-of-life issues for the products, I note. Without stronger producer
responsibilty laws, stuff like PLA plastics will be a headache for
recyclers & composters and not for the companies who profit from

USCC has a session on biobased plastics at its upcoming conference
next year. Anyone on this list who attends - if you can, please report
out on the discussion there!

Can't remember if these factoids have been mentioned on this thread;
here are some interesting dimensions to this issue:
-- <5% of GMO (genetically modified organisms) corn goes to PLA made by
C-D right now. However, use of GMO for bioplastics and
generation is one use some think may be acceptable (as opposed to food
uses of GMO seeds). However, cross-contamination of crops from GMO to
non-GMO is a concern. Apparently 70% of the soy in the US is GMO and no
one can certify (except probably organically grown) that soy in food
products isn't GMO.
-- I believe only about 7% of the world's petroleum goes to plastics
right now, so replacement of petro-derived plastics with bio-derived
plastics isn't going to get us off non-renewable sources right away -
tho every step helps on that front.

Anne Peters
Gracestone, Inc.
Boulder, CO
303.494.4934 vox
303.494.4880 fax

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