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[GreenYes] Can you feed the stuff to the fish?

Rick (et al) -

I agree that the introduction of biodegradable "stuff" brings up
issues, both new and existing. I guess the question is: Does the
introduction of PLA (or other compostable stuff) necessarily lead to
more litter or more plastic in the environment? We have a massive
litter problem now, but I don't see how the introduction of
compostable stuff increases this problem.

Yes, we have a lot of education to do. I just had a quick lunch of an
Annie Chun "instant" noodle bowl. It came in a "biodegradable"
container, which is cool. But there is no information on the package
or on their website about what to do with this. Should I put it in my
home composting bin? (probably). Should I try to get it to a
composting facility that takes food scraps and biodegradable stuff?
How is a consumer supposed to know what to do with it? Is this just
furthering the myth that eventually all things will decompose in the

As you know, I was on the panel at NRC that discussed some of these
issues. I wish I had had a chance to bring up the concept of MOOP
(Matter Out of Place). Probably a good concept to think about. Along
the road to zero waste we've got to focus on the MOOP. All of the
plastic in the environment is MOOP. The way to fix this is to provide
the education and the infrastructure to get the Matter into the right
place (as for example, Eco-Cycle is doing with their Center for Hard
to Recycle Materials, why aren't there more of these?).

Replacing some or all of the food service containers and utensils
with a biodegradable alternative may ensure that at least some of it
gets recovered via composting. I agree wholeheartedly with Stephen's
point that it would seem that most non-bottle plastics (and I think
nationally we're recycling about 25% of those?), in most places,
don't get recycled, so either end up in a landfill, in an
incinerator, or in the environment. So to the extent that we can
replace these non-recyclable items with compostable ones, we can hope
to recover at least some of them and hopefully recover some of the
wasted food that is also landfilled along with them.

Matthew Cotton
Integrated Waste Management Consulting, LLC
19375 Lake City Road
Nevada City, CA 95959

On Nov 2, 2006, at 12:29 PM, Pete Pasterz wrote:

> Especially after the NRC presentation during which the NatureWorks
> rep. stated that PLA will NOT decompose as litter on the roadside
> or in water; only in a compost pile of 150 degrees!
> Pete Pasterz
> From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address]
> On Behalf Of RicAnthony@no.address
> Sent: Thursday, November 02, 2006 3:12 PM
> To: stevew@no.address; gary@no.address;
> crra_members@no.address; GreenYes@no.address;
> zwia@no.address; ZERI_Practitioners@no.address; ZERI-
> US@no.address; sustainablebusiness@no.address
> Cc: marc.gunther@no.address; cmoore@no.address;
> mgordon@no.address; stephanie@no.address
> Subject: [heur] [GreenYes] Can you feed the stuff to the fish?
> Importance: Low
> In a message dated 11/2/2006 12:06:44 P.M. Pacific Standard Time,
> stevew@no.address writes:think bio-plastic bottles are a
> great idea except the "recycling problem" is definitely a
> concern.....should definitely support other bio-plastic products
> such as cups, and foodservice containers.
> I worry about all the food service containers and utensils that are
> dumped into the environment becoming fish and bird food before
> totally decomposed.
> Rick
> E-mail correspondence to and from this address may be subject to
> the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third
> parties.
> >

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