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Re: [greenyes] biodegradable and compostable plastics How much is available? Where?

Ric, et. al

I have been advised some plastics used in food wrap are not candidates for recycle programs. I have also heard concerns expressed about " auto fluff".

In October I personally reviewed a Low Voltage DC Plasma Bio waste disposal system made in Fla EPA and state LA and Fla approved for bio hazardous medical waste disposal. Lots of plastics in that mess. This system completely dissociated everything into elements and all that came out was steam, elements mostly stainless and some really active carbon. Highly efficient produces more energy than it uses in order of magnitudes.

Of interest to me was the Beta test at Tulane in LA and Jackson Hospital in Miami where the off gases were cooled instead of being consumed in the 2k to 23K heat. It converted hydrocarbon plastic back into oil and gasoline. Ready to use.

I have a PDF file on the Fla commerical Medical waste operational system which has now been purchased and shiped to Spain for a demo project in June also have the independent test results. Anyone have a waste stream with lots of plastics?

Engineer/ Investor/ Renewable energy
Leonard E. Wheeler, Jr , MPA
Eustis, Florida 32726

From: RicAnthony@no.address
To: greenyes@no.address; crra_members@no.address; gaia-members@no.address; zwia@no.address; zerowaste_sd@no.address; lfrance@no.address; exdir@no.address; gpedersen@no.address; geoedco@no.address; tisdale@no.address; jrbrown1989@no.address; nstrauss@no.address; mike.mathias@no.address; Marlenekcb@no.address; cindy17731@no.address; nrichardson72@no.address; jeff@no.address; RicAnthony@no.address; acalbow@no.address; richflammer@no.address; eflom@no.address; lhart@no.address; MaryMatava@no.address; kryan@no.address; dchralowicz@no.address; Jerry.schnitzius@no.address;; jbaer@no.address; michael.wonsidler@no.address; jwjones4@no.address; smolloy@no.address; wayne.williams@no.address
Sent: Sat, 19 Mar 2005 18:20:06 EST
Subject: [greenyes] biodegradable and compostable plastics


I think there are several questions about biodegradable and compostable
plastics that should be addressed before moving in the direction of
promoting biodegradable plastics at our upcoming conference. I have so many
concerns about it that I am cc'g the whole advisory board on this.

My first cocnern is whether biodegradable plastics contain the same
plasticizers, such as phthalates or bishneol-A, as the more traditional
non-biodegrabale plastics do. The ASTM standards for "biodegradable" and
"compostable" plastics do not (to my knowledge) prohibit the addition of
carcinogenic or hormone-disrupting chemicals to plastic products (there are
hundreds of such chemicals commonly used as plastic additives).

My second concern is that the standards also do not require that the
products degrade rapidly in the marine environment. Therefore, even
compostable or biodegradable plastic will persist long enough in the marine
environment to present many of the same potential threats as the traditional
plastics...they can still cause suffocation, entanglement, and starvation in
birds, marine mammals, fish, jellyfish, turtles, and other marine life.
AMRF has a few biodegradable and compostable plastic products sitting in a
tank filled with ocean water at the SEA Lab. They've been there for about a
year. They are still largely intact.

For these reasons, I wonder whether we should be promoting biodegradable
plastics by having vendors promote tham at a conference on marine plastic

I would certainly like to learn more about the issue of plastic additives in
biodegradable and compostable plastics. I don't really want my produce
raised using compost that is contaminated with these chemicals. However, I
live in a city which is promoting the use of biodegradable plastic bags in
the curbside organics collection program. So, I suspect that this may be
happening already.

I asked Steven Mojo, the ED of the Biodegradable Products Institute, whether
BPI had any policy regarding the addition of such chemical additives to
biodegradable and compostable plastics and whether it is a common practice.
He told me he did not know (this was about a year ago).

I have other concerns about bio-plastics. They are typically made from
agricultural products, such as corn and soy. With the potential huge
increases in agricultural production posed by changing petroleum plastics to
bio-plastics, there are likely going to be huge increases the use of
pesticide, fertilizer, energy and water, which should concern most
environmentalists (I would think the Heinz Center might be concerned).
Associated with this kind of agricutlural production is energy use, water
use, soil contamination and depletion, sedimentation of nearby waterways,
and air pollution. This makes me wonder what is environmentally beneficial
about bio-plastic. Others in the Dept. of the Environment in SF have voiced
concerns about the big increases that will result in the use of genetically
engineered seeds.

Before we invite vendors of bio-plastic to promote their goods at the
conference, don't you think we should ask them to answer the questions
how long these materials take to degrade in the marine environment,

what kinds of chemical "plasticizers" are typically added to different
types of bio-plastics, and

whether the industry is willing to adopt standards of sustainable
agriculture (organic) in growing the feedstock materials?

Miriam Gordon

California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
(415) 904-5214 phone
(415) 904-5216 fax

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