Standardize what 'compostable' plastic is!

'Biodegradable' and 'compostable' plastic can mean many different things - from simply plastic breaking down into smaller plastic flakes to actual organic material that can break down in compost, it's almost impossible for the average person to figure this out. The Ontario or Federal government should pass rules that clearly require companies who make this type of plastic use easier to understand and standard terms.

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  • Dawn Lyons
    commented 2014-06-17 19:58:53 -0400
    Some things that are labelled “recycleable” are, in fact, not! In Toronto, for instance, paper coffee cups, which are technically recyclable, are garbage => landfill b/c the City has no customer for the cup. It’s the old ‘recyclable where facilities exist’ wheeze. That is the clincher, it falls to the city, village, township, whatever, to contract with an outside party to buy, or at least take away, any material before it can be, you know, actually recycled. Right now I am trying to find out if the plastic pouch my organic™, non-GMO, Fair Trade™, generally save-the-earth sugar comes in is recyclable in Toronto. Or should I buy the maybe-GMO-but-for-sure-oppressing-people-in-the-third-world mainstream sugar which comes in a recyclable paper package? The Quebec-based people wo package and sell my favourite dried fruits and nuts admit, “Our pouches are recyclable … in Europe, but not here.”

    It’s a really tough one to answer, we don’t even have stats on the relative impacts. Where oh where is Pollution Probe on this? Back in the day we could count on them to tell us whether cloth or disposable diapers were better overall (oddly enough, disposables weighed in better, after call factors like chlorine bleach and laundry detergent considered, although better alternatives exist for both of them nowadays),say, ones that involve/require intervention at a govt/corrporate policy level, not our everyday choices. That’s what success can do to you, I guess.

    Anyway, as to ‘biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ plastic, it seems to be a crock. Plastic may ‘degrade’, but only over long, long periods of time and then, only in the presence of sunlight. Which is not what you get a lot of in a landfill. In order to make an informed choice, we would have to know the half-life or whatever of each plastic we toss. My operating assumption is that plastic is forever, and the only responsible thing to do with it is to keep it forever, recycle it, or better still, not use it at all.
  • Emily Green
    commented 2014-05-28 06:56:58 -0400
    I heard about this! Is there a brand that you recommend that is actually organic material? Do the regular grocery store brands just break down into plastic flakes?
  • Josh Stuart
    commented 2014-05-26 16:34:19 -0400
  • Emily Alfred
    published this page in Community Forum 2014-05-14 12:22:04 -0400