Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Newspaper or Corn Starch Bags in Bristol's Brown Recycling Bins?

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Newspaper or corn starch compostable plastic bags in Bristol's brown recycling bins? Seems like a straightforward choice to me - newspaper clearly wins and so I'd urge people not to sign Knowle Lib-Dem Councillor Gary Hopkins petition on the matter, on both environmental and economic grounds. - go to this address and post a discussion comment if you agree with my comments below.

Where is the sense in manufacturing something (like corn starch plastic bags) specially to throw away - even if its biodegradable? Apparently the bags often end up in landfill rather than being composted because they dont shred up well and have to be separated out. It just does not add up at a time when we are supposed to act green. Think of the land, energy and money needed to do this? Is this environmentally and economically appropriate?

It makes even less sense when we already have a widely available and suitable product for containing the waste we put into our brown bins for composting - its called newspaper and its there in quantity in our homes ready for reuse.

If people carefully wrap their brown bin waste up properly each day to make newspaper parcels, ensuring several layers are used and that there are no leaks in the parcels, then there should be few problems. Its what I've been doing and I've not seen a single maggot since the start of the system. To be double sure people could even line their bin with newspaper before putting in their waste parcels.

Is this significantly more effort than using a corn starch plastic bag? Better to appeal to people to use newspaper properly and to give out plenty of environmental information and educational material than to go for these bags.