Mydesign, I don't know where you live, but no restaurants near me are charging for packing up my leftovers just because my county has passed a law requiring sustainable takeout packaging. That's pretty outrageous. Perhaps you can get a town or county ordinance passed to change that.
You may be right about cost differences, but your previous comment was about length of time. Planting trees is a good idea for a lot of reasons, including oxygen and carbon sequestering. But it takes several decades to grow the right kind of trees big enough to make harvesting worthwhile. And you have to rotate your crops, as it were, meaning go away for several decades while you're regrowing that grove, and harvest other groves. I live in Santa Cruz County in the redwoods and they don't grow like weeds.
I have absolutely no data to back me up BUT I find it hard to believe that it's not cheaper to grow a tree (basically free) than to haul oil half way around the world in a ship that has to be protected by our Navy, Marines, Airforce, Army (hope I didn't leave anyone out), etc.
It doesn't require much security for a tree no matter what variety it is or where it's planted. If there aren't enough fricken trees THEN PLANT MORE. Besides they will absorbe the CO2 that the tankers are producing to move the oil.
I live in Georgia the pine tree capital of the world. They grow like weeds here and will come up through concrete driveways and in your gutters.
robatnorcross, thanks for the positive feedback. I learn a lot from the other posts, too, as well as the comments. I also remember those antique glass bottles for soda pop and milk. Whether they were reused or recycled (grinding them up), they were superior containers in many ways. Some plastic containers for liquids barely last til you get them home from the grocery store. It takes a lot longer to grow and harvest a timber forest (of the right kind of trees) to make paper than it does to produce dino-based plastic. Meanwhile, both timber and petroleum are becoming rare. Maybe we should just keep re-using cloth bags.
Tim, I'm with you on this one. PET is the most recyclable plastic in the landfill, and also the most plentiful one, which is sad considering what's being made out of it, like bridges, car seats, and heavy truck parts. Educating the public is definitely a big goal. But so is better coordination among infrastructure members, such as sorting facilities, plastic regrinders and PTF operations.
When I was a kid back in the dark ages, we didn't have a problem with recycling soda bottles. It was called 2 cents for every bottle (glass) returned to the bottling plant. I don't know how many times they were "recycled" but I guess when they got too scratched up or chipped the thing was crushed, melted and turned into a new bottle.
We also had antique containers for milk called MILK BOTTLES made from glass and probably went through the same "recycling" protocol as above.
I still can't figure out how a plastic bag from the grocer is better than a paper one. It seems to me that it should be easier to grow a new forest of trees than to dig a new oil well to make plastic for bags.
By the way, You guys get an "A" for this website. I look forward to it every day. My only suggestion is that you start publishing it TWICE a day. i learn more from one issue of these columns than a full month's worth of CNN and FOX.
Perhaps one of the worst things about the PET bottles ending up in landfills is that the PET material takes well to being recycled. The missing component is getting people to put them in the correct container.
Beth, biodegradable water bottles might actually not be a good thing, since there are so many of them in landfills and biodegrading plastic in landfills is considered the last option. The best, first option is recycling and the PET material most plastic water bottles are made of is highly recyclable, more than most other plastics, in fact. That's the same material that became heavy truck parts http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=241854 structural, weight-bearing elements of the Scottish bridge http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=237384 and Ford's car seat material http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=236706
Nadine, I'm also in Northern California. The film material described in this research project is aimed primarily at meats. It agree, it would be great if we had an alternative like this one promises here in the US, too.
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Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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