Recycling industry passes new policy





posted by Kari Embree, Senior Digital Content Editor — Packaging Digest, 8/5/2013 10:30:09 AM





The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) recently announced the release of a policy on bans and fees for recyclable paper and plastic bags approved during its July Board Meeting. The policy is in response to increased efforts across the country to ban or apply fees to such bags for grocery shopping and other purposes without taking the impacts to the recycling industry into account.

“ISRI members that recycle paper and plastic bags are quite concerned that policymakers are banning bags and creating fees without considering the real impact on recycling, and the recycling industry. No matter how good the
intentions, these policy discussions should not be made in a vacuum,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI.


“Rather than bans and fees that take away jobs and increase costs to consumers, policy makers should take advantage of the great economic and environmental opportunities associated with responsibly recycling these bags.”


The recycling industry is a pivotal player in environmental protection and sustainability. In the United States, approximately 77 percent of paper mills rely on recovered fiber to make some or all of their products thanks in part to recovered paper’s significant cost and energy savings. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. According to the U.S. EPA, plastic recycling results in significant energy savings, an estimated 50-75 million Btus/ton of material recycled. 

“Policymakers and consumers are often surprised to learn the important economic role that paper and plastic bags play in the continuous life-cycle of paper and plastic products,” said Joel Litman, president of Texas Recycling/Surplus, Inc., and ISRI’s Paper Stock Industries Chapter. “Our company is designed to recycle these bags into valuable commodity grade materials that are then sold to manufacturing plants to make finished products around the globe. This is a win-win for the local economy and the environment.” 

ISRI’s new policy also encourages retailers to provide convenient collection for plastic bags. Many retailers have convenient bag collection programs in place that provide a valuable revenue stream. Increased efforts by retailers to collect and recycle used bags will offer the convenience paper and plastic bags provide while reaping the environmental and economic benefits of recycling. In 2011, an estimated 151 million pounds of bags and sacks were collected for recycling and increased 19 percent over 2010.

ISRI’s policy states:

“Promotes a free and fair, competitive, market‐based system for the trade of recyclable materials such as paper and plastic bags.

Supports a competitive marketplace that does not restrict, direct, or interfere with the free flow of recyclable materials.

Opposes bans and fees on paper and plastic bags that are being manufactured into useful commodity grade materials and sold into viable, commercial markets without subsidies or noncompetitive, fixed pricing.

Promotes the proper recycling and economic opportunities associated with the collection, processing, and reuse in finished products such as paper and plastic bags.

Supports requiring retailers to provide convenient collection for recycling of plastic bags offered in their stores.”


Source: ISRI











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Plastic: is it the New Black Gold?

Plastic: is it the New Black Gold?

According to the report from the Ministry of environment, Mauritius produces some 120 tons of plastic wastes daily amounting to a total of 43,800 tons of waste every year of which only 4%, representing some 164 tons, are recycled. In 2006, the population’s consumption of non-biodegradable plastic products amounted to some 70 million Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles, 7 million PVC bottles, and 113 million plastic bags.

Now just imagine a process able to clear our environment of plastic wastes, creating jobs in waste management and collection and at the same time bringing useful resources such as petrol and gas, which can be beneficial to our economy. The Liquid Hydrocarbons pilot project proposed by the Green Hydrocarbons (Mtius) Ltd has the ambitious desire of turning our plastic wastes into hydrocarbon petrol.

The environment friendly project, realized with the collaboration of the initiators of the project in India, Unique Waste Plastic Management & Research CO. Pvt. Ltd., will enable Mauritius to get rid of its plastic wastes while at the same time providing resources such as petrol. The initiator of the project will bring all the technology and equipment necessary for the setting of the pilot plant while the government, in collaboration with Green Hydrocarbons Ltd., will provide the necessary location and licenses.

The ratio of the conversion of the plastic waste into petrol is one kilogram of plastic into the volume of 1000 cc of petrol. The pilot project will hence be converting some 2.5 tons of plastic wastes daily into some 25,000 liters of petrol and other by-products. This project is a green alternative to the palliative solutions that have been found so far to deal with plastic wastes. Land filling, incineration, recycling, gasification and blast furnace have shown their limits in the treatment of plastic wastes.

Recycling is unfortunately not a practical solution in that the cost of collection is quite high; there is a limited market for it, with an absence of marketing. Moreover, plastic can only be recycled three to four times, after that it loses its strength and can’t be recycled. The project realized with the collaboration of Indian partners is due to start in the course of the year 2007, once the EIA obtained.


The concepts of plastic conversion into hydrocarbons was elaborated by Professor Alka Zadgaonkar of the Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur in Indian, in the year 1995. While giving a lecture on Applied Chemistry, she came up with the idea of turning plastic back into hydrocarbons. She worked with a team on the formula and in 2004; they succeeded in turning 300mg of plastic into hydrocarbon liquids.

Unique Waste Plastic Management & Research Co. Pvt. Ltd of India later launched a pilot project where some 5,000 tons of plastic wastes were converted everyday. The process was later extended to treat 25,000 tons daily in 2006 and the objective of the project is to treat some 450,000 tons. She asked for analysis by Indian Oil and made a number of recommendations for the use of the final products.

After about one year of operation, the project was realized with the help of loans. Representatives of the State Bank of India acknowledged that the project is already running on profit, thus proving the efficiency of the method. The world produces no less than 60% more plastic wastes than it did some ten years back with a production of 100 million tons every year. India produces 10,000 tons of plastic wastes everyday which 40% are recycled.

This project has enabled India to better manage the country’s plastic wastes while at the same time creating jobs. Actually India sells its hydrocarbon at 40% to 50% less than normal diesel. The technology is presently being exported to other regions such as Rajasthan and even to America; for instance, some hospitals are being operated using their own wastes.

The investments for the pilot project in Mauritius are estimated to around 100 to 300 millions Rupees. Land filling, incineration and recycling 4% are presently being used but they do not resolve the problem of environmental damage caused by plastic. The Waste to Compost project, will however give a new dimension to the processing of plastic in that hydrocarbon and the other by-products used as compost.

About the author: André Lee is the Internet Marketing consultant, Advisors to Tour Operators and Ticketing Agents. More of his articles are available at

Copyright, All Rights Reserved. Reprints acceptable ONLY if the entire article remains the same, including this author resource box!

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Plastic versus Paper

Plastic versus Paper

In modern environmental thinking, plastic is often touted as greater evil than paper. Their deterioration periods are always mentioned to emphasize the destructive effects they have on nature and its inhabitants, mainly on us humans:


Comparison of deterioration periods:

orange peels – 6 mos

paper – 2 to 5 mos

plastic-coated milk carton – 5 yrs

plastic bag – 20 yrs

aluminum tin cans – 50  to 100 yrs

batteries – 100 yrs

glass bottles – 1,000,000 yrs

plastic soda bottles –   forever



Attention is also brought to the obvious shortcomings of plastic, of which 40% of all that are manufactured is used for packaging:

produces chlorofluorocarbon (CFC = ozone destroyer)

produces chemical waste

takes landfill space

is non-biodegradable

kills marine life

clogs sewer pipes, leading to stagnant, standing water and associated health hazards.


It is estimated that somewhere between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are consumed throughout the world each year.



On the other hand, paper manufacture is not without its disadvantages.


Compared to plastic bag production, paper bag production creates

2 times more sulfur dioxide

3 times more carbon monoxide

6 times more dust

50 times more waste


To cite a specific example, production of plastic cups is more efficient and cleaner than the production of paper cups.

On per ton basis:     650,000   pcs  plastic cups

uses   5,000   kgs.  steam

uses   1,800   kwh  electricity

On the other hand:  100,000   pcs. paper cups

uses 10,000   kgs.  steam

uses   6,400   kwh  electricity


Comparison of the energy needed to produce an original bag

plastic bag: 594 BTUs   vs.   paper bag: 2511 BTU’s


Comparison of the energy needed to recycle a bag once

plastic bag: 17 BTUs     vs.   paper bag  1444 BTU’s


Likewise, it would take approximately seven trucks to transport the same number of paper bags as can be transported by a single truck full of plastic bags, because these are so thin and lightweight.


As a final argument, when disposed off after use, plastics generate 14 to 28 percent of the volume of trash in general, but because much of it can be compressed, only 9 to 12 percent of the volume of waste in landfills, or around 5 percent by weight.  Paper comprises 12 percent by weight of garbage dumps, and also decomposes very little in airless landfills, just the way plastics are non-biodegradable. Modern landfills are designed in such a way that nothing biodegrades, because the waste is isolated from air and water in order to prevent groundwater contamination and air pollution.


Some countries have already resorted to extreme measures in efforts to contravene the plastics onslaught. Bangladesh banned plastic bags after drains blocked by bags contributed to widespread monsoon flooding. Ireland decreased plastic bag consumption by placing a consumer tax on plastic bags. Perhaps the most strict plastic bag regulation was implemented in the Indian province of Himachal Pradesh, where people caught with plastic bags are fined 00.


In the end, most everyone can help reduce the amount of both materials, plastic and paper, by:

investing in high-quality reusable bags to eliminate the equivalent average of 1,000 bags

reusing bags that are in the house for a myriad of other purposes or intention

keeping them always ready for use in the car, office, home, or person

not asking for them when it is really not so necessary



Professional assistance on thesis editing and dissertation editing, and proofreading services, or on how to avail of these expert services are obtainable 24/7 on the internet.

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Plastic lasts foerver. It never biodegrades. Yet we use it to make disposable objects that we discard after a short period of time, sometimes just minutes, or a few hours. Take action. Bring your own bags and cups. Avoid plastic bottles. Demand laws banning or taxing plastic bags and other disposables. Time to act is now!
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Top 5 Reasons to Choose Eco Friendly Products for Life

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Eco Friendly Products for Life

Ever heard the term ‘biodegradable’? We have all heard it in science classes, but most of us may have listened to it half-heartedly. Today, however, this term is whipping up loads of emotions all over the world. While a large section of the population is vociferously supporting the cause of biodegradable products, a few still believe that this is a case of much ado about nothing. When it comes to making the decision to go green by changing your lifestyle, most people are hesitant to take the first step. Many feel that it is a chore; others think that one person simply cannot make a difference.

If you happen to be perched on the wall regarding this debate, then, here are the top reasons why it is necessary that you take a pro-environment stand – Now!

Many developed countries like America and Europe suffer from severe consumption addiction. They use non-biodegradable products, which will never be recycled or reused. For instance, it is believed that millions of used mobile phones finding their way to landfills everyday. These phones will stay there for thousands of years. Products like Styrofoam, plastic, PVC and cadmium choke the environment. People have long been using plastic bags for shopping. It is believed that America alone produces billions of polybags every year. When you consider the total volume of plastic waste generated by the expanding populations of the world, you will realize that it is enough to make major changes to the planet.

Unfortunately, the majority of such wastes are made from toxic, non-biodegradable materials that release hazardous waste into the air and earth. By opting to switch over from plastic bags to environment friendly products like bamboo and hemp products, you drastically reduce the non-biodegradable waste in the environment.

Eco friendly products encourage and enable healthy lifestyles for people who care enough for the society and environment they live in. Thus, they encourage safe living for future generations.

Eco friendly products are made with fewer raw materials. That means there is comparatively lesser destruction of forests and trees.

Sustainable, eco friendly products are typically cheaper and they last longer. The cost of most products is dependent on the kind of materials used. However, it is important to remember that some organic products may be expensive because they are grown in a pesticide-free environment. Even so, sustainable products have a longer payback period and represent the correct use of resources.

Eco friendly products are generally manufactured in an environmentally sound process. So, there is less emission of toxic waste and harmful chemicals. There is also a significant reduction of waste in the production process.

There is greater variety in eco friendly products because they are made from materials that are widely available. Also, many of these products are ingenuously manufactured. So they have special textures, feel and look. Add to that the feel-good factor associated with doing the right thing and you have a perfect package of longevity, health and total return on your investment.

We here at provide you with variety of environmental friendly products at discounted rates.

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    Fun & Ecofriendly Uses for Plastic Bags

    Fun & Ecofriendly Uses for Plastic Bags

    Plastic bags find themselves reincarnated in a million different ways. So here’s a list of uses, not necessarily in any sort of order of usefulness.

    1. Make a purse out of them by sewing a bunch of them together
    2. Use them as small trash can liners
    3. Use them as containers for soiled diapers
    4. Use them as containers for used cat litter
    4. Use them as a container for dog poop retrieved out of the yard by turning the bag inside-out, putting your hand in it like a make-shift glove and grabbing the poop. Once you’ve grabbed the poop, use your other hand to turn the bag right side out and the poop will magically be inside the bag. Be sure to use a bag that doesn’t have any holes in it!!!!!
    5. Use them as mattress stuffing
    6. Use them as pillow stuffing
    7. Use them as packing material in lieu of the dreaded white foam peanut
    8. Tear a piece of the bag off and use it a seal before screwing a cap back onto a bottle or jar that might decide to leak
    9. Use them as a food-stain-proof cook book cover
    10. Use large plastic bags to keep lawn furniture covered
    11. Use them as small-but-handy lawn clean-up bags
    12. Use them to store wet beach towels in
    14. Use them as luggage when traveling. Use the Wally World smiley-faced bags as matched luggage for that extra designer touch…
    15. Use them as you would a rubber glove when you don’t have rubber gloves handy
    16. Use them to carry large amounts of mail in
    17. Use them to help make a credit card or other magnetic stripped card swipe when the card by itself won’t swipe by putting it inside the bag. Not sure why this one works but it does. I see people do it in truck stops constantly.
    18. Use them as a kite to keep a kid (or yourself) amused
    19. Use them to catch stray paint droplets when you are painting
    20. Use them as flags
    21. Use a solid white one tied onto a pole as a truce flag
    22. Use a solid white one tied to your car antenna or rolled up in a road-facing window when you are parked on the side of the road in case your car breaks down
    23. Use them as rubber boots to keep your feet dry
    24. Use them as back packs for kids by putting their arms through the handles
    25. Use them as socks
    26. Use them as a doggie bag when you are in a restaurant and want to take a piece of chicken home with you in a purse or pocket
    27. Use them to store dirty clothes in when you are traveling
    28. Use them as a shoe-horn when trying on shoes at a garage sale
    29. Use them to protect the plaster cast so you can take a shower after you break your foot
    30. Use them as diapers
    31. Use them as bandages
    32. Use them as freezer bags
    33. Use them to wrap up leftovers to keep them from drying out in the refrigerator
    34. Use them as bread bags for homemade bread made in an electric bread maker
    35. Use large ones to cover clothes in a closet or while traveling to keep the clothes clean
    36. Use large ones to slip over ceiling fan blades when cleaning the blades to catch the dust and keep it from falling on the floor
    37. Use them as a toy parachute
    38. Use them as handy sick bags when someone is sick to their stomach…
    39. Use one to wrap your lunch sandwiches in to keep it from getting soggy in a cooler with other items that might sweat
    40. Use a small one as a rain bonnet
    41. Use a big one as a raincoat
    42. Put them on your wiper blades and mirrors in the winter to keep them free from snow and ice
    43. Use them as a cheap collectable — nearly everyone seems to collect plastic bags either in their home or car or both
    44. Use one to hold your clothespins when you are hanging your clothes out to dry
    45. Use them as a trash can
    46. Store your shoes in plastic bags when you have them inside your suitcase to keep from making the rest of your clothing stink like your smelly feet
    48. Use one to carry popcorn in
    49. Store wet paint brushes in them after you’ve washed out the paintbrush
    50. Use them to store rags in
    51. Use them as inexpensive home insulation
    52. Use them when re-upholstering boat seats between the foam padding and the vinyl upholstery to make the seats semi-water proof
    53. Use them to put used oil filters in to keep them from contaminating the rest of the trash
    54. Use them as flexible molds for the spray foam that hardens to fill in holes in walls, etc.
    56. Use them as a porta-potty liner
    57. Use them for emergency toilet paper
    58. Use them for emergency tissue paper
    59. Use them to carry your purchases home…
    60. Use them as emergency socks
    61. Use them as emergency underwear
    62. Use them as an emergency barf bag
    63. Weave them into an inexpensive rug!!!!

    Polly maintains an eco-friendly packaging blog where she shares information about recycling, reusable bags, and more.

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    Plastic Bags – How They Can Help You Organize Your Kitchen

    Plastic Bags – How They Can Help You Organize Your Kitchen

    Plastic bags are not just for bringing home items from the market anymore, but they also help organize our homes. The home is the place where you and your family should spend your precious moments enjoying each other’s company. It can sometimes be very depressing to see that your home has been lost to all the unavoidable clutter, leaving your family disorganized. It is our responsibility to keep our homes clean and well-organized; not only for us, but for the sake of our household. One area of your home that can really get messy is the kitchen, which can be organized with the use of plastic bags.

    The kitchen is where you prepare your family’s food. It is very important to keep it well-organized because the kitchen is normally the first place that house pests like roaches and rats attack, mainly because of all the spoilage of perishable goods. Here is where you can utilize these items to your advantage. The first thing that you can do is to gather all of your plastic bags together in one place, say, on your cupboard. The key is for you not to get drowned by all of these items that can really clutter up your kitchen space. Put them in a place where you can easily see them. Separate the big bags from the small ones so you can just easily pick from any of the two groups to suit whatever you are looking for at the time.

    The smaller and more airtight plastic bags are better for storing food that can easily be spoiled. You can even use this as a container for your children’s snack or packed lunch for school. You can also tape labels on them so you can better categorize the food that is stored in the airtight plastic container. The bigger bags are great for use as trash bags or for a way to group together all of your other kitchen clutters like bottles, cans and others small things.
    You can then easily store all of this clutter away that you have grouped into individual categories per plastic bag into a storage place. You can also use these big bags as a way to protect your kitchen supplies that are not in use and are stored away from unnecessary house pest damage. You can regain control of your home and especially your kitchen with a little organization skill using plastic bags.

    You can also bring some organization to your office by using plastic mailing bags and resealable plastic bags.

    Cassie Williams is a writer and researcher. She loves writing about home and family.

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    Plastic Water Bottles and Ocean Pollution
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    Don?t Underestimate the Value of Promotional Plastic Bags

    Don?t Underestimate the Value of Promotional Plastic Bags

    The latest addition to the vast pool of promotional items is that of promotional plastic bags. Simple but highly useful, these promotional plastic bags are worth a try. Now one might wonder that what is it about these plastic bags that one should use them as a promotional item for their organisation. Well, there is nothing that is very special or out of the box about these promotional plastic bags. They have been in use for ages and continue to do so till date. Promotional plastic bags are by far one of the simplest items that you can go  for. There is none who does not know about these promotional plastic bags and there is literally nothing new about these promotional plastic bags that you really need to know.  Despite promotional plastic bags being such an ordinary item, underestimating them by the virtue of their simplicity is no smart idea either.

    Promotional plastic bags might be a simple item to give away but what people quite often overlook is the utility of this awfully ordinary item. Promotional plastic bags are something that is going to be needed by one and all. No matter where we are going, we all need a proportional plastic bag to carry something or the other. While the business executive might need it to carry his/her files and various documents, the mother of the newly born would stack in various things such as diapers, feeding bottle, teether, food and a lot more. For the universal utility these promotional plastic bags have to offer, they can be used irrespective of the audience. Promotional plastic bags can also be of great use in keeping various things and preserving them for a long time. This wonderful item is of the best use when you need to hand away some thing to the other person. Had it not been  these valuable promotional plastic bags, you would have  ended up losing a nice bag each time you had to give away something.

    How can an item that offers such utility fail in promoting your brand. For the kind of purpose these promotional plastic bags serve, your audiences just won’t be able to thank you enough for this one. These promotional plastic bags are definitely going to be in use and thus going to get your message noticed too. Promotional plastic bags are some thing that can take your message out on the street and make your brand a household name. We all know that promotional plastic bags survive quite a long period, which means that you are going to be in the limelight for a lengthy time ahead. Wide reach and exposure, long lasting promotion, and an impressed target audience is what you have with these promotional plastic bags. So if you are still underestimating them, the loss is all yours. To know more, log on to

    Gareth Parkin is the co-founder of Ideasbynet, the UK’s largest online source of promotional plastic bags and other promotional items. He has taken the UK gift market by storm by the application of modern business thinking and the latest search engine marketing techniques. For more details on promotional plastic bags visit

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    Biodegredable Plastics – Transgenic Plants Providing a Solution

    Biodegredable Plastics – Transgenic Plants Providing a Solution



                       Almost every product we buy most of the food we eat and many of the liquids we drink come encased in plastic packaging, which provides excellent protection for the product. It is cheap to manufacture and seems to last forever. Lasting forever, however, is proving to be a major environmental problem. Plastics are manufactured from numerous non-renewable resources like natural gas, coal, and oil. Plastics cannot be degraded easily in the natural environment due to their long polymer molecules which are too large and too tightly bound.                                                              

                      A type of sturdy and hard plastic is made with a molecule known as Bisphenol A, BPA. BPA like many other man made chemicals is now detectable in most people’s blood streams and could cause dangerous hormonal changes in children. BPA may tend to cause cancer, early puberty, obesity and even attention deficit disorder.

                     To overcome this problem BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS have been developed which are made from renewable resources, such as plants. Biodegradable plastics are made with plant-based materials and result in 15% less carbon emission. Infact biodegradable plastics have not been successful in replacing the wide spread use of traditional petrochemical plastics.

    The following are few items and the time required for their decomposition,

     Tin cans- 50 to 100 years

    Aluminum Cans- 80 to 100 years

    Glass Bottles- 1 million years

    Newspapers- 25 to 50 years

     Polystyrene- 1000’s of years

    Plastic bags- 400 years

    So now we know the raising alarm being caused in the environment by the use of plastics. But a solution is always there,

     “Green Film” Plastic Bags and Products- 9 months to 5 years .

                    The plastics that are decomposed in the natural environment are known as the “biodegradable plastics”. (‘Biodegradable’ means that a substance can naturally decompose with the help of micro organisms and will not persist in the environment beyond a certain period of time). The chemical bonds of biodegradable compounds are easily destroyed by a variety of bacteria over a small period of time to facilitate their decomposition. As early as in the year 1926, Lemoigne managed to isolate the first of the polyhydroxyalkanoates – polyhydroxybutyrate (a homopolymer whose building unit is the 3-hydroxybutyric acid) from the Bacillus megaterium bacterium. At the end of the 1950s, the presence of the polyhydroxybutyrate was confirmed as an energy and carbon source and storage in many other bacteria. Many species of bacteria accumulate polyhydroxyalkonoates as energy storage compounds, some of the PHA polymers are commercially valuable as biodegradable plastics.

                     Polyhyroxybutyrate is a PHA produced in Ralstonia eutropha via three enzyme bio synthetic pathway consisting of ? – ketothiolase, aceto acetyl Co-A reductase, and PHB synthase. PHB synthase production in plants was first demonstrated in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana. Polyhydroxy alkanoates (PHAs), e.g., polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB), are synthesized from acetyl-CoA used as precursor, and are used for the synthesis of biodegradable plastics with thermoplastic properties. At present, PHAs are produced by bacterial fermentation, and the cost of biodegradable plastic is substantially higher than that of synthetic plastics.

                      Attempts are being made to produce PHAs in transgenic plants to reduce the cost. Genes encoding the two enzymes, aceto-acetyl-CoA reductase (PhbB) and PHB synthase (phbC), involved in the PHB synthesis from the precursor acetyl-CoA have been transferred from the bacterium Alcaligenes eutrophus and expressed in Arabidopsis thaliana. When the two enzymes were targeted into the plastids, PHB accumulated in leaves. PHB production by transgenic plants provides an example of a novel compound synthesized in plants.

     Standards that certify biodegradability and compostability,

     Following international organizations have established standards and testing methods for compostability: American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM ASTM 6400-99

     European Standardization Committee (CEN) EN13432

    International Standards Organization (ISO) ISO14855 (only for biodegradation)

    German Institute for Standardization (DIN) DIN V49000

                    The ASTM, CEN and DIN standards specify the criteria for biodegradation, disintegration and eco-toxicity for a plastic to be called compostable. While ISO 14855 makes no stipulations regarding disintegrations or toxins remaining.

                    Dealing with plastic wastes has taken on significance not far short of ultimate redemption. Developing biodegradable plastics is just one of the solutions to the existing problem. Its our responsibility to remember that by the uncontrolled use of plastics we are contributing our share to a deadly pollution whose ill effects are irreversible and capable of reaching out to numerous generation to come.


    1. Nature journal, Nature Biotechnology.

    2.Crop science journal. 

    3. India Together, Science and environment and environmental plastics.

    4. Australian Academy of Science.

    5. Eco Greenwares.

    6. abc NEWS – Health

    7. Institute of science and society

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    This is our submission for the 2008 Stanford Innovation Tournament. We chose to use the secret item (plastic water bottles) as plant pots. We created a facebook group and set up a station on campus where people could plant seeds in soil and take home a free plastic water bottle plant pot! We want people to take pictures of their flowers and upload them to the facebook group!

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    Biodegradable Plastic

    Biodegradable Plastic

    Only a couple of decades ago, biodegradable plastic was introduced to the world. Biodegradable plastics are plastics that will decompose in natural aerobic (composting) and anaerobic (landfill) environments. Biodegradation of plastics can be achieved by enabling microorganisms in the environment to metabolize the molecular structure of plastic films to produce an inert humus-like material that is less harmful to the environment. They may be composed of either bioplastics, which are plastics whose components are derived from renewable raw materials, or petroleum-based plastics which utilize an additive.

    The lowering of the costs to manufacture plastic has as a result led to plastic being more widely available and as such has become an environmental issue. While today it is common place to see plastic bags everywhere as a means to transport an item from the store or restaurant, but only 20 years ago, one would rarely even see a store that offered plastic over paper.

    The most common plastic seen anywhere in the world today is polyethylene. This type of plastic is what is utilized to make the grocery bags as well as many other items like water and cola bottles. The product of plastic itself is as a result of the refinement of petroleum products which are of course the root of the environmental issues we face today; the dependence on fossil fuels.

    Along with polyethylene though, there are a number of other types of plastic that are also available. The plastics breaks down easier and of course do not have the toxic styrene by product that the polyethylene has. These other plastics are made from a variety of substances such as vegetable oils and starches. One big example is that of the cellophane plastic wrap which is made entirely from the pulp of wood.

    As science and technology advance in to the next millennia, many more types will become available and some of those are already here. Many new types of plastic can now be readily and cheaply produced as well as the older manufacturing techniques of other plastics are being improved upon. Unfortunately, not one single type of plastic has shown the strength which can be obtained only in the polyethylene bags and as long as it remains on top as the strongest plastic bag, getting rid of it will be next to impossible.

    Furthermore, as more developments unfold in the search for a polyethylene replacement, one thing is for certain that is that each and every single newly designed plastic too has its own list of environmental impact factors. Some say that we should just go back to paper, but unfortunately this cannot happen as there is not a sufficient amount of trees available for this to occur.

    The goal within time is that eventually a true biodegradable plastic will be developed that is as strong or even stronger than that of polyethylene, and can break down easier without all of the toxic by-products. This would greatly reduce the amount of plastic waste consumed and disposed of into landfills.

    Biodegradable Plastics .org is a new portal, displaying all the latest news, information and developments in the biodegradable plastic (bioplastics) industry. Visit us at biodegradable plastic portal. This article was written by John Harley, staff writer at Biodegradable products blog

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    Natural Ways to Keep Food Fresh

    Natural Ways to Keep Food Fresh

    Research points to the many benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed foods in order to help maintain a healthy diet, the down side to this is that these foods are generally free of preservatives, consequently they spoil faster. There are, however many natural ways to keep food fresh, whether it be fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, poultry, grains, eggs, bread, milk or even cheeses. Most of these methods are normal, common sense things, but there are some that might be surprising to many, all are natural, and they all help with food preservation. Here are some useful tips to help you enjoy the freshest of foods:

    Pay close attention to expiration dates when shopping; buy food packages with the latest date printed on it.

    Keeping your refrigerator between 38 and 40 degrees F will keep foods the freshest.

    There is more temperature fluctuation in the refrigerator door, don’t store highly perishable foods there, especially milk.

    Dry vegetables and fruits before storing, and do not store them in plastic bags, which trap the ethylene gas that causes produce to ripen faster.


    In order to remain at the peak of freshness, meat products require plenty of air circulation around them in the refrigerator.

    Meat should be kept in its original wrapping in the refrigerator if you will be using it within two days.

    Smoked meats like bacon or ham should be wrapped in a vinegar-soaked cloth.

    Meat should be wrapped in foil or freezer paper before being placed in the freezer.

    Dairy Products

    Make sure to put milk back in refrigerator immediately after using.

    Always store milk in its original container.

    Never store milk in the door; it is where the temperature fluctuates the most.

    Before storing ice cream place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface, this will keep it fresher longer.

    Store ice cream in the main part of the freezer, not in the freezer door.

    Always wrap cheese in plastic or waxed paper before storing it in the deli drawer.

    The best way to store eggs is with the pointed side down.

    Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

    Produce releases ethylene gas as it ripens, while this is perfectly natural it does cause other fruits and vegetables to ripen faster. Some produce is more sensitive to ethylene than others, conversely some fruits and vegetables produce more ethylene than others.

    Among the more sensitive are green beans, lettuce, watermelon, carrots, apples, eggplant, broccoli, cucumbers and potatoes.

    The high-ethylene producers include pears, cantaloupe, apricots, tomatoes, bananas, plums, avocados, peaches, kiwis, mangoes, papayas and nectarines.

    Avoid storing any of the high producers with the more sensitive fruits and vegetables.

    Always store bananas on the counter, do not refrigerate them.

    Make sure you wash and dry all produce before storing.

    Never store produce in plastic bags.

    Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries should be stored in the plastic container they came in, keep them in the rear of the refrigerator.

    Baked Products

    If you will not use bread within a week, first slice it and then freeze it, from there you can remove slices as you need them.

    Fresh bread should be stored in a dark, cool and dry pantry.

    To keep pound cake and banana bread fresher always cut slices from the middle, after you take a slice push the two ends together so that you still have a loaf, this way there are no cut ends to go stale!

    Store cake with half an apple in the container, it will stay moist substantially longer.

    Store cookies in an airtight container or jar with a slice of bread, this will help keep them softer.

    A great way to help keep food fresh is a revolutionary breakthrough in food preservation called eggstrafresh®. It is scientifically proven to retain moisture and dramatically reduce oxidation, which actually increases the shelf life of fruits, vegetables and almost all foods, both in the refrigerator and in the pantry. Additionally, eggstrafresh® will improve the flavor, taste, natural color and texture of all of your fresh foods. To learn more about this exciting new, maintenance free innovation visit

    Mark Gold has more than 27 years of experience in the Food and Beverage Industry. He has written numerous articles on foods and food preservation.

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