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[GreenYes] Re: Are degradable plastics zero-waste?


I don't know about other bio-based plastics, but polylactic acid (PLA) does not break down quickly as litter or in water or in small home composting piles. Paper items break down much quicker. PLA requires both moisture and heat to break down. It does break down fairly quickly in commercial composting, because the commercial composting piles get pretty hot and also have sufficient moisture present. It will break down eventually though, which certainly is a good thing for littered items that do not get picked up.

Peter Spendelow
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Koplow [mailto:koplow@no.address]
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2006 6:41 AM
To: SPENDELOW Peter H; greenyes@no.address
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Are degradable plastics zero-waste?

I've seen some focus of these biobased products on markets for which litter is a problem -- for example, food service near national parks. In this type of a situation, rapid composting into water and CO2 would indeed be a benefit.

Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA 02140
Tel: 617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

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