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[GreenYes] Re: Biodegradable "Plastics" Distinction


>We need a convenient, creative collection system with three bins: one for biodegradables, which we’ll compost, one for recycling, and one for >whatever’s left.”

I think we need more than three.

And to reiterate, we need to deal with the problems of packaging at the front end, that which produces a myriad of waste streams that I sincerely doubt can be dealt with by a co-mingling scheme.


Workin for peace and cooperation,

Mike Morin


----- Original Message -----
From: Matthew Cotton
To: pfranklin@no.address
Cc: David Schellinger ; Alex Cuyler ; Greenyes List ; Eric Lombardi ; Mike Morin
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2006 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Re: Biodegradable "Plastics" Distinction


Pat (and others) -

Just to be clear, I love bottle bills, I'm all for them. I am lucky enough to live in CA where we have added lots (though not nearly enough) "new" containers (though there are more that should be added).

The introduction of truly biodegradable/compostable "plastics" made from entirely organic materials (not with little bits of plastic) has added a new dimension to "discard management/solid waste management/recycling".

As I go around this large country educating folks about composting, I often encourage people to learn more about biodegradable "plastics" (we really need to come up with a better term). I think biodegradables are a great new tool to help facilitate the collection and composting and beneficial use of the millions of tons of food scraps we otherwise entomb in landfills. I wasn't focussing on containers.

The bottom line is we need more facilities for food scraps composting. The use of truly biodegradable plastics as replacements for some otherwise difficult or unlikely to recycle materials seems like a good interim step. Once the revolution comes, we can all enjoy durable, truly sustainable items of commerce made from local organically grown crops using local, union and women friendly cooperatives, all while actually improving the environmental condition of the planet.

Until then, the majority of "plastics" as a whole, as a 1-through-disingenuous-7 chasing arrows category, gets landfilled. So by all means, let's enact a national bottle bill with all of the containers. But I'd still want and see a need for compostable utensils. And that's just one pretty good application. Clearly our nation (and many others) see a need for fast food, single use convenience. Until we figure out a way to provide that while minimizing its impact (and while were at it, let's make the food part healthier and taste better), we're going to get mountains of plastics, mixed with food that need to be landfilled. As a start, those mountains of food and its serving devices could be composted and at least returned to the soil.

Let me close with a quick opinion from my friend Eric: (FYI, PLA is one type of compostable "plastic-like" material made entirely from corn)

"Eric Lombardi, president of the Grassroots Recycling Network and a leader in the international Zero Waste movement, takes a nuanced view of PLA’s progress. He says it’s “visionary” even to think about biologically based plastic instead of a petroleum-based one. True, he says, there are problems with PLA, “but let’s not kill the good in pursuit of the perfect.” He suggests that the difficulty disposing of PLA reflects a larger deficiency in how we handle trash. He’s calling for a composting revolution. “We need a convenient, creative collection system with three bins: one for biodegradables, which we’ll compost, one for recycling, and one for whatever’s left.”

Amen.

Matthew Cotton
Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC
19375 Lake City Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-4560
Fax (530) 265-4547
mattcotton@no.address

On Sep 22, 2006, at 9:27 AM, Pat Franklin wrote:




All....

Matthew made the comment that only "a few sates" have bottle bills. That's
true. Only 11 states have enacted laws requiring small, refundable deposits
on beverage containers, but 28% of the US population lives in those 11
states. According to a 2002 multi-stakeholder report titled "Understanding
Beverage Container Recycling: A Value Chain Assessment" the 11 deposit
states recycle 2 1/2 times as many beverage containers per capita as the
non-deposit states. Many of these states are considering updating their laws
to include non-carbonated beverages that didn't exist when the laws were
passed. California and Hawaii already include noncarabonated drinks and
Maine's law covers all beverage bottles and cans except milk.

In 2006, more than 136 billion beverage bottles and cans will not be
recycled. Nationwide, that’s about 459 per capita—up from 300 per capita
just a decade ago, and this trend of increased wasting is expected to
continue. More than half of the 99 billion aluminum beverage cans purchased
last year were NOT recycled. Replacing trashed cans and bottles with new
containers made from virgin materials comes at great environmental cost.
There are economic consequences as well. Recycling companies, container
manufacturers and end users cannot get the used cans and bottles they need
as feedstocks to make new containers and other consumer products.

If you want to know more about bottle bills please visit CRI's Bottle Bill
Resource Guide at www.bottlebill.org. You might also want to visit our other
website www.container-recycling.org and check out our "bottle counter" which
gives a running total of the beverage containers trashed in 2006. The
counter will reach 100 billion bottles and cans NOT recycled so far this
year at around noon tomorrow.

Regards,

Pat Franklin


****************************************
Patricia Franklin
Executive Director
Container Recycling Institute
1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 800
Washington, D.C. 20036-1904
Tel.(202) 263-0999 Fax: (202) 263-0949
www.container-recycling.org and www.bottlebill.org







-----Original Message-----
From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address]On
Behalf Of Matthew Cotton
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:11 PM
To: Mike Morin; David Schellinger
Cc: Alex Cuyler; Greenyes List
Subject: [GreenYes] Biodegradable "Plastics" Distinction



David (and Mike):

I just wanted to clarify that there is a significant difference between
the (essentially two) categories of materials which are unfortunately
both referred to as "biodegradable plastic". One type (apparently the
one David has been working with) is a (petroleum based) plastic
material held together by a degradable polymer (usually some type of
starch). The plastic in these products does not "biodegrade". The
starch breaks down and the plastic is no longer held together, but it's
still plastic. The other type is truly biodegradable, made only of
organic materials, and will biodegrade completely into sugars and
starches.

I have seen some of these materials and how they compost in a
well-operated commercial composting facility. I am also aware of an
ASTM standard used to measure a material's ability to biodegrade (ASTM
D6400, etc).

While, in theory, I agree we should not encourage single-use
containers, utensils, etc, and we should encourage and promote the use
of durable goods. In the meantime however, is it better to put all of
the myriad plastics in the landfill or try to substitute them with
something that can be composted? (Some biodegradable plastics, like
those made from Natureworks PLA can be made to be very durable and
re-usable. I carried one of their very durable, corn-based cups around
a major out-of-town solid waste conference most of this week).

And while it may be interesting to conceive of a "bottle bill" for
packaging, let's remember how few states even have a "bottle bill" for
bottles (or cans). :> )

Matthew Cotton
Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC
19375 Lake City Road
Nevada City, CA 95959
(530) 265-4560
Fax (530) 265-4547
mattcotton@no.address

On Sep 21, 2006, at 1:42 PM, Mike Morin wrote:





I agree with thee about the fallacy of "biodegradable plastics".

Even if such existed, would it not leach into drinks.

I disagree with regards to your advocacy of paper products as a
replacement.

Remember the mantra is reduce, reuse, recycle. In that order.

People should be strongly encouraged to buy and carry reusable
containers.

Perhaps what we need is an extended "bottle bill" on all packaging to
cover
the external costs relative to disposal costs and health issues. Such
a
legislative package would discourage the use of current wasteful,
short-sighted and special interest packaging and also reduce or
eliminate
the production and distribution of toxic substances such as alcohol,
"soft
drinks" (which could alternatively be used as ethanol?) Also
legislation
could be passed that encourages the standardization/simplification of
packaging technologies (i.e. the front end) so that there is not such
a
myriad of rubbish (and garbage) to be processed for recycling and/or
disposal.

Which brings me to the issue of co-mingling. I have serious doubts
about
the
effectiveness of such technology. Relative to source separation, such
appears to be devolution foisted on a gullible and lazy and/or harried
population.

Although generally I favor an economic evolution rather than
regulation and
taxes, it appears that we have both a recalcitrant "private sector"
and
their lackey legislators and bureaucrats.


Workin for peace and cooperation,

Mike Morin


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Schellinger" <dschellinger@no.address>
To: "'US Composting Council Compost Discussion List'"
<compost@no.address>
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 8:33 AM
Subject: Re: [USCC] Biosolids testing report



U.S. COMPOSTING COUNCIL 15th ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND TRADESHOW
Wyndham Orlando Resort | Orlando, FL | January 21-24, 2007
The National forum for those involved in the development and
expansion of
the composting and organics recycling industry
CONFERENCE PROGRAM, REGISTRATION FORMS, WORKSHOP AGENDAS,
EXHIBITOR INFORMATION AND SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE AT
THE
USCC WEBSITE: www.compostingcouncil.org OR CALL THE USCC AT
631-737-4931


Frank,
I tend to dislike biodegradable plastics use in composting simply
because
it
does not really eliminate the problem of plastics in the
environment, but
only disguises it. What your argument lacks is an explanation that
exposes
the product for what it really is. The term biodegradable plastic
is a
contradiction in terms that leads to a false impression about the
true
nature of the plastic. Biodegradable plastic is truly not
biodegradable.
The degradable components that link plastic strands can be degraded,
but
the
plastic components still remain. The claim made by producers of
biodegradable plastics is that heat and moisture and microbiological
activity degrade the materials, but in my experience, UV light is
required
to degrade even the best biodegradable bags. I attempted composting
biodegradable bags and found that the bags remained intact three
months
after being placed in the piles, and only when the composting
materials
were
turned and the plastics exposed to the air and sunlight did I observe
degradation. I guess the degradation in the environment does reduce
the
unsightly nature of the material which is at least some consolation.

I remember when paper bags were the norm at grocery stores and paper
or
cardboard plates and cups were used at outdoor gatherings.
Unfortunately,
the paper and cardboard products did not have strength or durability
and
bags were often bulky. People were happy to see disposable plastic
products
that really did improve the quality of living for much of society.
Now
plastic materials are becoming a problem to society because they
don't
degrade very quickly, are unsightly when gathered along curbs,
fences or
shrubs, and can cause some ecological and environmental damage. To
eliminate this problem, along comes an industry to produce so called
biodegradable plastic materials (that truly do not eliminate the
plastic
components from the environment). Biodegradable plastics are much
like
an
aspirin to a cold virus. The symptoms leave for a short period, but
the
virus remains.

Wouldn't it be better to return to paper bags and cardboard
containers
rather than be concerned with trying to develop partially degradable
plastics, complete with non-degradable components? Paper products
can be
made from a multitude of cellulosic materials that are in themselves
potential wastes, and durability can be improved with modern
biologically
friendly organic adhesives.

The biodegradability of a product does not ensure that the end
products
of
that degradation are going to environmentally or ecologically
friendly.
Thus, biodegradable plastics only reduce a potential eye sore for
society,
but do not eliminate the input of potentially damaging plastic
components
to
the environment. On the other hand, it would be silly to expect all
products used by consumers to be 100% biodegradable, and the
chemicals
dumped down drains, even though not really environmentally friendly,
are
degradable, though often recalcitrant, and are usually only present
in
extremely low concentrations in feedstocks used for composting. When
more
environmentally acceptable materials are available (paper vs.
plastic)
use
of organic instead of plastic or biodegradable plastics should be
encouraged.

Dave Schellinger

-----Original Message-----
From: compost-bounces@no.address
[mailto:compost-bounces@no.address]
On Behalf Of frank
Sent: Wednesday, September 20, 2006 11:32 AM
To: US Composting Council Compost Discussion List
Subject: Re: [USCC] Biosolids testing report

U.S. COMPOSTING COUNCIL 15th ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND TRADESHOW
Wyndham Orlando Resort | Orlando, FL | January 21-24, 2007
The National forum for those involved in the development and
expansion of
the composting and organics recycling industry
CONFERENCE PROGRAM, REGISTRATION FORMS, WORKSHOP AGENDAS,
EXHIBITOR INFORMATION AND SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE AT
THE
USCC WEBSITE: www.compostingcouncil.org OR CALL THE USCC AT
631-737-4931


Composters

The Biodegradable Plastics Test is a first of its kind, as far as I
know. Producers make a claim that it is biodegradable in the
composting
process and then a test is developed to prove if they are correct.
Plastic is mostly harmless but because we see it and it looks bad we
do
not want it in the compost. There are many other things going down
the
drain that we do see nor do we know if it breaks down under normal
composting conditions. Many of these compounds found in soaps etc. we
can do without. I suggest if someone wants to manufacture a product
that
is likely to end up in the compost that every ingredient in that
product
go through a testing procedure like what the biodegradable plastic
industry need to do. It may seem expensive but for each compound it
only
needs be tested once and is then but on the biodegradable list. If
something is not on the list, or fails the test, then it should not
be
used or special considerations should be made before it is used.
Medicines could be in this group or places where the use of
antibiotic
soaps are most important are a couple of examples.

Frank




CAVM@no.address wrote:


U.S. COMPOSTING COUNCIL 15th ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND TRADESHOW
Wyndham Orlando Resort | Orlando, FL | January 21-24, 2007
The National forum for those involved in the development and
expansion of

the composting and organics recycling industry

CONFERENCE PROGRAM, REGISTRATION FORMS, WORKSHOP AGENDAS,
EXHIBITOR INFORMATION AND SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE
AT THE

USCC WEBSITE: www.compostingcouncil.org OR CALL THE USCC AT
631-737-4931



_http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2006/sep/science/
nl_compos

tin

g.html_
(http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag-w/2006/sep/science/
nl_compos

ting.html)


Now that we have developed the ability to test for contaminants in
the
ppb



we can find nearly anything we are looking for at some
concentration.

Neal Van Milligen
_______________________________________________
Compost maillist - Compost@no.address
http://mailman.cloudnet.com/mailman/listinfo/compost

This list is a service provided by the US Composting Council.

_______________________________________________


Ongoing Sponsors of the USCC Discussion list are:

Food Industry Environmental Network (FIEN), a regulatory and policy
e-mail

alert service for environmental, food and agricultural industry
professionals.

Contact Jack Cooper 301/384-8287 JLC@no.address --- www.fien.com

Renewable Carbon Management, LLC with the containerized, in-vessel

NaturTech Composting System www.composter.com rcm@no.address


(c) Copyright 2006 United States - All rights reserved

Members posting CC copies to the list and other addresses will have
their

posting privelages suspended. No exceptions!


Opinions expressed represent only the poster and are not
necessarily the

opinion or policy of any organization.


Non-members of USCC are encouraged to join the Council through our
website

at: http://www.compostingcouncil.org/membership.cfm For
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list
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--
Frank Shields
Soil Control Lab
42 Hangar way
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 724-5422 tel
(831) 724-3188 fax
frank@no.address
www.compostlab.com



_______________________________________________
Compost maillist - Compost@no.address
http://mailman.cloudnet.com/mailman/listinfo/compost

This list is a service provided by the US Composting Council.

_______________________________________________


Ongoing Sponsors of the USCC Discussion list are:

Food Industry Environmental Network (FIEN), a regulatory and policy
e-mail
alert service for environmental, food and agricultural industry
professionals.
Contact Jack Cooper 301/384-8287 JLC@no.address --- www.fien.com

Renewable Carbon Management, LLC with the containerized, in-vessel
NaturTech
Composting System www.composter.com rcm@no.address

(c) Copyright 2006 United States - All rights reserved

Members posting CC copies to the list and other addresses will have
their
posting privelages suspended. No exceptions!

Opinions expressed represent only the poster and are not necessarily
the
opinion or policy of any organization.

Non-members of USCC are encouraged to join the Council through our
website
at: http://www.compostingcouncil.org/membership.cfm For
discussion
list
policies and information regarding subscribing, unsubscribing,
digest or
other options, go
to:http://mailman.cloudnet.com/mailman/listinfo/compost

For additional help in unsubscribing or to report bugs and problems,
send
a
message to the List Manager, Jim McNelly, at
compost-owner@no.address

_______________________________________________
Compost maillist - Compost@no.address
http://mailman.cloudnet.com/mailman/listinfo/compost

This list is a service provided by the US Composting Council.

_______________________________________________


Ongoing Sponsors of the USCC Discussion list are:

Food Industry Environmental Network (FIEN), a regulatory and policy
e-mail alert service for environmental, food and agricultural
industry
professionals.
Contact Jack Cooper 301/384-8287 JLC@no.address --- www.fien.com

Renewable Carbon Management, LLC with the containerized, in-vessel
NaturTech Composting System www.composter.com rcm@no.address

(c) Copyright 2006 United States - All rights reserved

Members posting CC copies to the list and other addresses will have
their
posting privelages suspended. No exceptions!

Opinions expressed represent only the poster and are not necessarily
the
opinion or policy of any organization.

Non-members of USCC are encouraged to join the Council through our
website at: http://www.compostingcouncil.org/membership.cfm For
discussion list policies and information regarding subscribing,
unsubscribing, digest or other options, go
to:http://mailman.cloudnet.com/mailman/listinfo/compost

For additional help in unsubscribing or to report bugs and problems,
send
a message to the List Manager, Jim McNelly, at
compost-owner@no.address


















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