December 15, 2008

Corn-based Plastics… You Don’t Fool Me!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Adonya

I love perusing the net and discovering new “green” sites!

Last night, hub and I were watching Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff on Discovery’s Planet Green, and we learned about Enviromom.com and their green efforts.

What a pair these two moms are.  Their blog is chocked full of amazing information!  They even offer a Master Recycler course which is worth exploring if you’re just starting out.

Living in Oklahoma, we lovers of the earth quickly discover that not all plastics are created equal.  A fact that frustrates me every time I put our recycling out.

Now, you’re probably thinking you’re being pretty eco-friendly simply because you switched from petroleum-based plastics to corn-based, right?

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but corn ain’t much better.

In Enviromom.com‘s own words…

Corn-based plastics are still disposable products, which is pretty much the main reason neither Renee nor I like them. Here are some other reasons:

  • Creating corn-based plastic (PLA) is energy-intensive. Farming corn itself is pretty intense, and most corn-based plastics are grown from genetically-modified, non-organic corn. Add in the herbicides, run-off, erosion of topsoil, emissions from farming equipment, transport and manufacturing of the product — ugh.
  • It’s crazy to use good farm land to grow food used in DISPOSABLE PRODUCTS. How about if we just grow good food, like edible, organic vegetables?
  • The whole schtick behind corn-based plastics is that they are biodegradable. But where? Only in industrial composting facilities (home systems don’t get hot enough), and according to a July 2008 article in the Christian Science Monitor, there are only 113 such facilities in the US. We don’t have one in Portland. Even Seattle, which has one for its curbside food composting, won’t accept corn-based plastics in their residential pick-up program because they biodegrade at varying rates. Plus, as PLA7 plastics degrade, they don’t actually add any nutrients to the compost like food or yard debris do.
  • The plastic takes as long as 1000 years to biodegrade in a landfill because it doesn’t receive the air and water necessary to break down. And as it’s breaking down, it’s releasing methane (just like food).
  • PLA plastics cannot be recycled. They are a huge contaminant in the recycling process.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a thousand years to wait for a supposed greener alternative to biodegrade which is why I don’t purchase corn-based plastics.

Actually, I’m reducing the amount of grocer products we purchase that our contained in plastic because the last time I checked plastic leak bisphenol A and polypropylene.

Neither of which are any good for us.

So, now you have something else to add to your list of what-not-to-give-to-your-children.

It doesn’t matter if you’re doing  the GFCF diet or not… adding the plastic-free diet to the mix will not only help your family but others too!

#ShareItForward