7 posts categorized "Biodegradable Bags"

October 14, 2010

The Great Atlantic Garbage Patch

WHOI 8.20.2010

Scientists with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Sea Education Association have been collecting data concerning the presence of plastic in the Atlantic Ocean for several decades. They've recently published a pair of studies analyzing the data. Here are a few highlights from the writeup in Oceanus:

Assessing 22 years of data collected by SEA ships ... researchers found that more than 60 percent of the tows contained detectable plastic debris. Average densities rivaled those reported from the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” ranging from 1,400 pieces per square kilometer in the Caribbean to more than 20,000 pieces per square kilometer in the Sargasso Sea.

Yes, you read that right. Average density of plastic debris in large areas of the Atlantic "rivaled" the Pacific Garbage Patch. If that's not scary enough, it shattered the Pacific Patch's record in other areas.

...the highest value recorded during the 22-year period was 580,000 pieces per square kilometer at 24.6°N east of the Bahamas. The region, where 83 percent of all the plastic debris was collected, is known as the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, a part of the ocean bounded by a series of wind-driven currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that collectively flow clockwise around the subtropical North Atlantic.

In areas of the North Atlantic, we've recorded plastic present at 30 times the amount of the now-legendary Pacific Patch.

Additionally the research has lead SEA and WHOI to a few answers and a number of intriguing new questions; If PET plastic bottles litter our beaches and continue to make their way into the ocean, why have we found almost no trace of them in the oceanic samples?

Learn more by reading the complete Oceanus article here.

FTC Combats Greenwashing

Ftc-issues-new-labelling-guidelines-for-ecofriendly-products-bkt_5488 Inc. 10.7.2010

The Federal Trade Commission recently revised guidelines for products being labelled as "degradable," "eco-friendly," or "recyclable."

This is part of an effort to put an end to the disparity between what companies and consumers consider an environmentally-friendly product. Any label making such claims will have to be able to back up such declaration with "competant and reliable scientific evidence."

The FTC will be able to take action if it considers a company's marketing to be deceptive or flat-out untrue. This would initially come in the form of a cease-and-desist order, which becomes a fine with further violations.

Check out the whole article on Inc.com.


September 21, 2010

American Samoa Bans the Bag

USA Today 9.2.10

U.S. territory American Samoa has signed a law banning stores from handing out plastic shopping bags.

The law will take effect Feb. 23, and excludes biodegradable shopping bags and compostable plastic bags.

This ban was signed only a few days after California rejected a very similar law, although a growing number of California cities have taken steps to ban bags at a local level. Some of these cities include San Francisco, Palo Alto, Malibu, and others.

Read the full article here.

Our Take: We like their commitment to reducing consumption, however it's fees - not bans - that are the best way to go. Ireland's PlasTax reduced plastic bag consumption by 90% in its first year alone.

April 10, 2008

AUDIO CLIP: Manufacturers Push Biodegradable Plastic Bags

npr, All Things Considered 04.07.08

Npr_logo1_3As more and more cities and states consider plastic bag bans and tax proposals, companies are beginning to weigh their options. Biodegradable plastic bags are designed to quickly break down. But where does the plastic go?... The story also cites a staggering statistic: every year US plastic bag consumption = nine billion pounds. Listen to story…

Our Take: The plastic polymers are still there, but they are out of sight! These may become a popular choice for big brand companies/marketers looking to reduce negative exposure when their bags are hooked in trees and laying on sidewalks. While on the surface biodegradable bags may seem like a good idea, there’s a host of problems associated with them (e.g.  A proliferation of biodegradable plastic bags will really sc
rew up recycling efforts, they don’t get at the heart of the problem: consumption, etc. – click here for more…) This is a perfect example of a seemingly good idea that truly does more harm than good.)
Link: Manufacturers Push Biodegradable Plastic Bags


March 23, 2007

ReusableBags.com Founder Interviewed by ABC News

ReusableBags.com founder Vincent Cobb interviewed by ABC News about IKEA implementing a charge for plastic bags, BYOB (bring your own bag) trends in the U.S. and other "banning the plastic bag" initiatives.

Link: Video interview - ABC News.

August 30, 2005

Degradable plastic bags must for hospitals, star hotels

Delhi Newsline

THE Environment Ministry of the Delhi government has made it mandatory for all five-star, four-star hotels, restaurants with more than 100 seats and hospitals to use degradable plastic bags.

‘‘The plastic bags, which are used now-a-days, not only pollute the environment but are also harmful to animals if swallowed. The degradable bags, when exposed to sunlight, lose their form and mix with the soil. We have written to these units to start using degradable plastic bags,’’ said an Environment Ministry official.

Link: Degradable plastic bags must for hospitals, start hotels


August 12, 2005

Plastic sugarcane - the crop of the future?

ABC Wide Bay Queensland

In ten years time, the rolling paddocks of sugar cane throughout the Wide Bay could be fifteen percent plastic.

"Sugar is a perfect crop for genetic modification,"

Sugarcane containing plastic, unlike cereal crops modified to have higher protein levels or chemical resistance, has no potential to affect humans, since it won't be ingested.

Link: Plastic sugarcane - the crop of the future?.