It’s not hard to understand why food on-the-go is so appealing. Pull a car full of hungry kids into the drive-through at your local burger joint and everyone leaves full and happy. In the mood for a coffee or egg sandwich on the way to work? It wouldn’t be a surprise with dozens of 50ft billboards advertising blended coffees or hot snacks. Plus, it’s quick and easy. Unfortunately, the plastic or Styrofoam containers last much longer than the sandwiches, drinks, burgers or fries that are devoured in a few minutes.
Non-biodegradable plastics will last indefinitely and plastic is everywhere:
According to the EPA “In 2006, the United States generated about 14 million tons of plastics in the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream as containers and packaging, over 6 million tons as nondurable goods [such as diapers and trash bags], and almost 9 million tons as durable goods [appliances].”
Recycling is definitely not eliminating plastics in the environment. The Epa continues to explain that “overall recovery of plastics for recycling is relatively small — 1.4 million tons, or 3.9 percent of plastics generation in 2003”
With this in mind, companies like the BiodegradableStore develop containers made from biodegradable materials. Corn Plastics (PLA) and Bagasse (sugarcane) make up containers that will decompose in 35- 60 days in proper composting conditions.
PLA products look and feel exactly like regular plastic, but since they are made from corn, these items are 100% compostable. The added benefit of corn products is that corn stalks are known to grow quickly and are a renewable resource.
Bagasse, is more heat tolerant than corn plastics (which deteriorate at temperatures above 115 degrees (F)) and is made from sugarcane stalk pulp. Bagasse is comparable to thick paper and is ideal for serving hot drinks. It is even microwaveable. Bagasse takes advantage of sugarcane stalks that are typically discarded during the sugar making process.
There are many incentives for food and beverage distributers to start handing out these products with meals. Consumers will be happier knowing that the countless cups, plates, napkins and even bags, will return to nature and this would be a positive thought to dwell on while the food has left everyone feeling uncomfortably full.