Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Row over the introduction of corn starch bioplastic bags in Bristol is the wrong row to have!!! The council seems to be ignorant of world events.

There should indeed be a political row over introduction of corn starch bioplastic bags for use in the city's brown bin recycling system - but it certainly should not be this one! Squabbling over the details of how they are introduced shows just how little the bigger political parties truly understand what it means to be green ('Political Row Over Bags for Food Scraps', Bristol Evening Post, 7 May 2008).

Clearly the bags should not be introduced at all and we should continue to contain brown bin food waste in material that already exists, such as used newspaper or other waste paper such as paper bags. Just like the push for biofuels has helped to force up food prices so has the push for bioplastics. In addition just as there is great controversy about how biofuels actually increase environmental impacts instead of decreasing them, so the same argument applies to bioplastics. As soon as you start to grow crops for turning into fuel or plastics you are competing with food production and are clearing land as well as using chemicals and fossil fuels for the farming and processing. (There are a multitude of news stories about this issue eg here and here).To be sustainable biofuel and bioplastic production should be from waste oils and fats that already exist.

Council policy on making corn starch bags available, originally spearheaded by Knowle Lib Dem Cllr Gary Hopkins, which all parties apart from the Greens agree on, is based on ignorance of the facts I'm afraid. Don't councillors follow current events by at least watching the news??

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