Biodegradable Choices

Biodegradable Choices

There are many choices that the American consumer is privileged to have. Walk into a supermarket or department store and count the array of brands for the same product. With so many choices why not try a biodegradable one so you can reduce your carbon footprint and minimize growing landfill.

Why Choose Biodegradable Products?

Most material in landfills is somewhat biodegradable, however by using a rapid break down choice it can assist the sometimes challenged process of allowing microorganisms, moisture and sunlight to finish the job. Taking the time to research and read labels of products that offer truly biodegradable packaging and/or ingredients may seem like a chore. In addition, many products tout being biodegradable but instead slip in other toxic materials that may not only poison our land and water but could take thirty years or more to break down.

Here are a few reasons why biodegradable choices are important:

  •  A plastic bag takes more than 1,000 years to break down.
  • A paper bag takes 1-2 months
  • A glass bottle takes approximately 4,000 years (or never) to break down.
  • A cardboard beverage container (without plastic coating) takes 1-2 months.
  • Nylon clothing takes 40-50 years.
  • Cotton clothing takes 5 months.
How to Choose Biodegradable

Chances are that you are already using biodegradable products and do not even realize it. For the most part, plastics, metals (like aluminum), and Styrofoam are all anti-biodegradable materials taking thousands, if not more, years to decompose. When purchasing products a lot of times the manufacturer will tell you how bio-friendly it may be. Look for words like eco-friendly, compostable and the percentage of recycled material used. Stay away from heavily dyed labels or plastic coated cardboard that seems biodegradable but is really full of factory laced chemical toxins. There is currently a huge market for biodegradable products which include everything from laundry detergents and glass to school supplies and pet waste bags. Most are derived from paper or botanical materials such as hemp. The cost can sometimes be a few cents higher but, when you do the math, the outcome is well worth it.

Compost It

If you find that you are already using such things as compostable plates, paper bags, newspapers, etc. then why not set up a compost bin in your yard, on your roof or even on the terrace. Instead of throwing out your biodegradable materials, put them in the compost and use to naturally fertilize your (or friend’s and family’s) gardens. Some local nurseries may even buy it from you.

Compostable Vegware Party Pack

Compostable Vegware Party Pack

Interesting New Biodegradable Products

Here are a few cutting edge biodegradable products currently introduced:

  • Glue made from bacteria that can withstand five tons of force per square inch.
  • Dish scrubbers and brushes made from fine-grit sandpaper.
  • Plates and utensils made from sugar cane pulp and corn resin.
  • A phone made from potatoes, corn and kenaf (a tropical plant used to make cloth).

Biodegradable choices may not be at the top of your list but if you simply think ‘paper instead of plastic’ and go from there, you might just be able to integrate it.

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