One thing I learned to my dismay back in 2007 when I decided to try and live without plastic is that without exception, all frozen foods come packaged in some kind of plastic. Even cardboard containers like ice cream cartons are lined with plastic. That information sucked for me, the convenience food junkie.
I did however, have a moment of hope when I discovered Stahlbush Island Farms’s frozen fruits and veggies packaged in what looked like plain brown paper. But that hope was crushed when I opened the bag and saw that it too was lined inside with plastic.
Well, recently, several readers have excitedly informed me that Stahlbush’s packaging is now labeled as biodegradable.
So I went out and bought a bag of frozen spinach just so I could look inside. Here’s what I found:
Looks like plastic, right? The Stahlbush web site doesn’t give any details about the new bag except to say it’s biodegradable. So, not one to accept any… Read the rest
Discussing plastic-free sunscreen, dog poop solutions, plastic newspaper bags, buying berries, and more. All accompanied by the cutest green pug ever.
A week ago, I showed this photo from the SF Green Festival and asked what was wrong with this picture. No one offered the specific answer I was looking for, but many gave great partial attempts.
Ken O. noticed that all the bin liners are biodegradable, and he’s right. In fact, they are all corn-based BioBags. Lara S. gave an excellent answer, “the plastic bags are unnecessary and shouldn’t be there (compostable or not… it’s a waste).” If these bins were at our homes, most of us could do without any liners at all. Michael and I don’t use any kind of garbage bags at our house these days… compostable or not.
But for a big 3-day event where there is quite a bit of solid waste (despite being a zero-waste event!) it’s more practical to swap out some kind of liner than to move many, many bins around.
So here’s what happened: these green BioBags were the first thing I noticed when I entered the convention… Read the rest
Last week, Daniel Burd, a 16-year old Canadian student, won the top prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Ottawa for his discovery of microbes that will break down polyethylene bags. This article in The Star explains his procedure and how he was able to isolate the specific microbes that will break down the plastic. So far, his microbes have achieved a 43% degradation of the plastic after 6 weeks. Burd theorizes that in 6 more weeks, the plastic would be completely gone, although he has yet to prove that.
First, I want to congratulate Daniel for his hard work on behalf of the environment and for possibly achieving what so far adult scientists have not been able to. Amazing. Being able to biodegrade plastics without the use of toxic heavy metal additives (as are used in oxo-degradable plastics) could be a useful tool in cleaning up the plastic mess we have already created.
But does this mean that plastic bags are now off the hook and that plastic packaging… Read the rest
Back in September, I wrote about the plastic AT&T Yellow Pages bag that showed up on my doorstep unsolicited. Here’s the update. I called the Yellow Pages, found out to whom I should write, and sent this letter (PDF file).
Not long afterwards, I actually received a telephone call from Jim Troup, the head of environmental issues for AT&T Yellow Pages. We had a long conversation about plastic bags, Yellow Pages recycling, and different types of degradable bags the company has tried. He told me he is researching alternatives to the plastic bags, and that they actually did an experiment up in Redding, California, with a bag made of a plastic called D2W. He called this plastic “chemo-degradable” rather than “bio-degradable” and said that AT&T was still looking for something fully biodegradable and would let me know when they’d made a decision.
Weeks went by, and I forgot about D2W plastic, until … Read the rest
26-year old Samuel Huber started what he calls “eco-running” as a way to help the world while out doing his favorite thing, running. On his eco-runs, he carries a few small garbage bags and picks up litter all along the route. Recently, he has made the switch to biodegradable, compostable BioBags. Check out his website and mention of BioBags and this blog, Fake Plastic Fish, at http://eco-runner.blogspot.com. I want to not only commend him for his efforts but join in the eco-running movement he’s trying to start. So, this morning, BioBag in hand and latex gloved, I did a 30-minute eco-run towards Berkeley and back. My bag was full within the first 12 minutes, and I found I needed to stop picking up big things and concentrate on the items that, if washed down a storm drain, could end up inside the bellies of marine animals: bottle caps, small toys, a comb, a pacifier, plastic bags, even a rubber glove.
Stopping to pick up garbage slowed… Read the rest