FAQ - Wally's ECO Emporium

By: Wally's Eco Emporium  09-12-2011
Keywords: Plastics, Compost

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bagasse?

"Bagasse" is the material left over, after the sugar has been extracted from sugar cane.  Until now this left over material was burned. 

What is PLA Corn Plastic?

PLA stands for (polylactic acid) which is a polymer derived from dextrose.  Dextrose is a natural sugar derived from the starch in kernels of corn, carbon dioxide and water.   All our clear products are made with PLA to create the clear plastic used for cups, deli containers, and hinged clamshell containers.

PLA uses significantly less fossils to manufacture than conventional plastics.  This is due to a lower melting point.  PLA can compost completely back to carbon, water and organic matter.

Are bioplastics a new technology

The technology of using bioplastics as a substitute for petroleum-based plastics has been developing and available for the past 20 years or so, but commercial use hasn’t really been noticeable until recently. With disposable packaging being a significant player in waste production, bioplastics offer a solution that is disposable, biodegradable and sustainable – characteristics that petroleum-based plastics simply don’t have.

How does a restaurant's choice in packaging material make me more ‘green’?

Now, going green can be as easy as ordering take-out—that is green.  If the restaurant you’re ordering from packages its food in bioplastics and other compostable materials. Bioplastics are derived from sources such as corn.

What is the biggest issue people have against using bioplastics?

Even though the use of bioplastics is on the rise, the process of its decomposition continues to be a confusing point to the general public.  Improper discarding of bioplastics, leading to problems for waste management plants is one of the big points of contention between those that see bioplastics as the way of the future and those that would rather keep things as they are.  But proponents of bioplastics say that new technology requires consumer education and existing systems must evolve to keep up with changing times and demands of the public. The integration of plastics means integrating a newer, greener way of life into our daily habits, a process that begins one plastic bag at a time.

What are Annually Renewable Resources?

These are resources that are annually sustainable and are harvested within a 1 year growing season and include items such as corn, potatoes and other crops.

What is degradable Plastic?

Degradable plastic is plastic which undergoes a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions that results in a loss of some properties. There is no requirement that the plastic has to degrade from the action of "naturally occurring microorganism" or any of the other criteria required for compostable plastics.

What is Biodegradable Plastic?

Biodegradable plastic that offers fairly rapid degradation that results from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and algae (ASTM D 6400-99) due to compounds added to the plastic making process.

What is Compostable Plastic?

Compostable plastic is made of materials that are compostable but look and feel like petroleum based “typical” plastic. This ‘plastic’ undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with other compostable materials and leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue (ASTM D 6400-99)

Why do biodegradable products tend to cost more than traditional plastic products?

These are relatively new products, and in their infancy stage. The companies that produce the raw materials and bio-resin based products generally have not achieved the production capacities or volume levels needed to produce "lowest cost" efficiency levels. In addition, the technology required is still in early stages as new methods are being developed. Therefore, the laws of supply and demand keep the bio-resin costs higher than some traditional petroleum based plastics

Keywords: Compost, Plastics

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