There’s no box like foamBy Tye | March 15th, 2009 | Category: Blog, Business |
By Sound News reporter Tye Rogerson
On the first day of 2009 Seattle banned the use of expanded polystyrene food containers from being used in restaurants and delis. The weaning process apparently needs to take a full year and a half. Why couldn’t we have a year and half to prepare for this economic collapse?!
Needless to say, many Type A businesses have already begun purchasing, as stated, containers made from alternative materials, which almost always means recyclable plastics and/or compostables. The UW made a similar change, phased in over the last year, and has proven a leader in a long awaited switch.
The idea is to make a bunch of compost from our daily food buys, and their respective containers, rather than sending them off to our burgeoning landfills. Cedar Grove is nice enough to make suggestions to businesses on where to purchase from during this phase out. They also hold a line of compostable packages themselves.
It’s not all good, though. More green costs more green and many businesses, despite their theoretical support, are struggling to pay double for plates, bowls, cups and lids all made from compostable materials. Because many businesses refuse to transfer the cost to their customers, they take the hit.
PolyLactic Acid, a corn-based bioplastic, for example, is used in coffee cups which will biodegrade in one to nine months, depending on conditions. Bagasse and sugarcane form the basis of a couple other alternatives available.
Another problem with the new containers and “silverware” lays in their details. Some containers are not lined and do not store food well for long periods. This also creates issues with eating rice out of a “doggy-bag” when it wants to stick to it. Some of the forks and spoons droop at the first sign of heat and the tines of forks tend to snap much easier as well.
With a ban set in Seattle, however, and the chance of more appearing, the opportunity is out there for demure moneymakers to design better compostable products which businesses are all but forced to buy.
And as for the happy happy shopper who can’t finish his meal…observe-in the experimental sense-which decays first: your food or its container.
Contact Tye Rogerson at firstname.lastname@example.org