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[GreenYes] Re: Recyclable Plastic Cups

Hi Peter

Thank you for taking time to put me in the light. I have written to a
palm oil fibre food packaging supplier with your message and I hope they
will response to me on it.


<-----Original Message----->
>From: Peter Spendelow [spendelow.peter@no.address]
>Sent: 4/3/2007 1:10:24 AM
>To: GreenYes@no.address
>Subject: Re: [GreenYes] Re: Recyclable Plastic Cups
>I think you are looking at the cups the wrong way. In the life cycle
>of cups, the most damage in terms of use of resources, creation of
>greenhouse gasses, and waste of energy comes from the manufacturing of
>cups in the first place, not the disposal or composting of cups at the
>end of their life. In this, recycling is clearly better than
>composting - particularly for the biodegradable cups.
>First regarding biodegradable cups, unfortunately, unlike leaves,
>grass, weeds, and food waste, biodegradable plastic and paper cups do
>not break down into natural fertilizers. The biodegradable plastic
>(PLA or polylactic acid) and PLA-coated paper cups break down almost
>entirely into carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) and water. Leaves,
>weeds and other natural plant materials have lignins and other complex
>organic molecules that break down to form the nice brown humus that
>makes up compost. PLA is a very simple molecule that when it breaks
>down, goes very quickly all the way to carbon dioxide and water
>leaving virtually nothing left behind to grow plants in. Paper cups
>are made with a paper-making process which removes lignins, and so
>they too break down almost all the way to carbon dioxide and water.
>For these cups, all of the energy and material that went into making
>the cups is completely lost - 100% waste.
>When you recycle cups, it does take some energy, but it takes a lot
>less energy and material than it does to make cups out of virgin
>materials. Thus, when you recycle cups, it takes less energy than it
>does to compost the cups and then have to start out fresh with raw
>materials to make new cups. Note - this is true even for the
>biodegradable PLA cups. It would be more efficient and less damaging
>to the environment if you could recycle the PLA cups instead of
>composting them. The only problem is the difficulty in collecting and
>cleaning the cups so that they could be recycled into new cups.
>In short, this is just a specific example of why our solid waste
>hierarchy has recycling above composting. In most cases, recycling
>saves more energy and resources than composting does.
>Peter Spendelow
>Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
>On Mar 31, 7:02 am, "Nancy Poh" <nancy...@no.address> wrote:
>> I am surprised to hear that because we have supply of Bio-degradable
>> containers that are convertible into natural fertilizers. Is that not
>> better than recyclable since there will be no energy wasted to
>> it?
>> Rgds
>> GreenBeing Nancy
>> - Show quoted text -

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