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Previous Blog Posts

29th Dec 2012

 

Hawaii Could Have the First Statewide Plastic Bag Ban

Hawaii likely to ban plastic bags statewide

There is a big chance that Hawaii could become the first state in the U.S. to have a statewide ban on plastic bags!

Just last week the city of Honolulu and it's County Council passed a plastic bag ban ordinance and it is now waiting to be signed by Honolulu's Mayor Carlisle. This is the only county in the state of Hawaii that hasn't adopted the ban on plastic bags.  

The deadline for Mayor Carlisle to sign is May 10, 2012, which is coming quickly. 

You can urge the mayor to sign the bill into law by clicking the link below:


 

Why Compostable Take Out Containers Make Sense Even if You Can't Compost Them

 

Should you use compostable food containers if you can’t compost them?

compostable packaging
We often get questions from restaurant owners about the benefits of using compostable take out containers in cities where there is no commercial compost service for residents or businesses.  Recently a restaurant in Oakland (which has a compost service) also wondered what happens if a consumer takes a compostable container and puts it in a city trash can instead of a compost bin.  

We love these questions because it means people are becoming conscious of the massive amounts of food packaging waste we create and agree we need solutions for it.

Our response to the first issue is to make sure everyone knows that, like their plastic counterparts, even compostable containers don’t break down in any reasonable amount of time in a landfill.  We need to avoid putting anything in landfills!  But if you don’t have a choice in your community, you still get many benefits from using compostables.  We call these “upstream” benefits because they occur before the product is used by the consumer. 

The first upstream benefit is that compostable food service products come from renewable sources.  Whether its corn, sugarcane, bulrush, or paper, everything can be made again in nature so we’re using resources at a more sustainable rate than petroleum based plastic. 

The second benefit is that these solutions don’t contain any toxic chemicals used in many traditional plastics.   Whether it’s the styrene and benzene that workers and consumers are exposed to from polystyrene plastic, dioxins in our environment from the use of chlorine bleaching of paper, or the small and large oil spills from petroleum extraction, none of these things are issues with compostable products.

The third benefit is that many sustainable packaging solutions use less energy to produce then their plastic counterparts.  For example, PLA (the bio-plastic use for clear containers and to line coffee cups)  uses 68% less energy to make than traditional plastic. 

Another benefit consumers get from buying compostable food service products is that this sends a powerful buying signal into the marketplace.  That signal shows manufacturers they’ll be rewarded for continuing to innovate and drive down costs of plastic free packaging.  It also sends a signal to municipalities that they should enable more permits to be created for commercial compost facilities to process these products into usable compostinstead of filling up landfills.

What about using recyclable plastic?

In case you were wondering, using recyclable plastic is not a long term sustainable answer either.  That’s because 93% of all the plastic we throw out each year (a staggering 28 million tons of 31 million total) never reaches a recycling facility but ends up in a landfill anyway.  Of the small amount that does go into the “recycling” stream, very little actually comes back in the form in which it originated such as a plastic water bottle.  There are a number of reasons for this.  

Without going into all of them, you can safely assume that anything you put in the recycling bin ends up in a landfill because there isn’t a profitable enough market for some plastics to actually recycle them.  If it is purchased by a recycling facility, it often ends up on a container ship to China where its incinerated for energy, not turned into another plastic bottle as many people think. 

Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comment section below!

Could Dissolvable Packaging be the Future of Food Packaging?

The future of food packaging could be just around the corner!

A company called MonoSol has started producing a new form of water-soluble packaging "MonoDose" which actually dissolves! The magic behind this amazing packaging ispolyvinyl alcohol or PVOH. Now while the name may not sound appetizing, in 1999, the USDA deemed PVOH safe for consumption and is "an excellent candidate for coating a variety of fruits".

The immediate application of this new packaging from MonoSol is in instant coffee. However, any food product that one would want to mix with water could be an application for it as well. Think about all the possibilities: instant coffee, oatmeal, sauces, pre-portioned health beverages like smoothies, hot cocoa, soups....the list could go on and on!

Check out the video of the instant coffee application below:



 

Original article appeared on Co.Design

New Mobile App, PuurBuy Offers All Things Pure & Local






Good Start Packaging is happy to announce our new partnership with PuurBuy!

PuurBuy is a new free tool that makes it quick and easy for customers to find you by showcasing your healthy and sustainable business practices on a mobile and web platform. In its simplest form, PuurBuy is a mobile guide to all things pure and local, and for restaurants like you, their goal is to drive loyal customers who appreciate your commitment to health and sustainability.

Here's how it works:

1. You fill out an online questionnaire (5-15 minutes) checking off your sustainable practice.

2. They turn that information into an elegant, searchable database of healthy, sustainable establishments, right in your hungry customer's palm.

3. Your satisfied customers earn points toward a charitable donation, just for supporting you, by "checking-in" on the app each time they visit.

There is no cost to participate. It takes just a few minutes of your time and you can access thousands of customers who have a shared respect for our planet. To create your profile visitwww.puurbuy.com.

You will also receive extra accolades by signing up before the public launch Earth Day April 22!

Produce Aisles are the New Target of Plastic Bag Bans



With more and more cities such as San Jose, Ca., adopting the ban on plastic bags, the focus is now being turned to the the produce aisles. While you may not be able to get a plastic bag for your groceries at the checkout stand (or may have to pay .10 cents per recycled bag), you still can separate your fruits and vegetables in the single use plastic bags found in the produce aisles. 

What is the purpose of banning plastic bags, if the produce aisle harbors them by the thousands, and many shoppers end up with more plastic produce bags than actual plastic bags from the checkout counter? That is exactly the reason that activists and officials are targeting produce departments.

Speaking on the issue personally, I never really felt the need to use these environmentally destructive produce bags. When I buy fruits or vegetables, it is usually in small quantities and I have no problem with them being loose in my shopping basket. However, I know that many people buy in larger quantities and may have some concerns with their produce being loose amongst their other groceries.

Here are some things you can do if you are one of the many people who buy their produce in bulk and would like to shop with environmental responsibility:
  1. Use canvas bags or other reusable eco friendly bags.
  2. Ask your grocer to use BioBag compostable produce bags like the ones we  offer here.
  3. Skip using a bag altogether! We should all wash our produce before consumption anyway.
Do you have any other ideas or tips to suggest to the list above? If so, we'd love to read them! Just leave your tips/ideas in the comment section below.
 

Biking for Compost - The Rot Riders

Rot Riders' Logo


Armed with trailers attached to bicycles and strong sense of environmental responsibility, a group of people known as The Rot Riders bike around Kirksville, Missouri collecting buckets of food waste from local residents to be composted!

The Rot Riders have been making their weekly pick-ups since 2010 and service over 40 houses and apartments in the area and that number is growing.

Started as a project for their environmentalism class at Truman State University, foundersAllison Sissom, Rodery Riney, and Jonathan Lessing, have turned their idea into a community staple. They have 5 main riders for their routes, along with a handful of volunteers that collect the food waste and take it to the compost piles on Truman University's Farm.  After the approximate 3 month composting process, the finished product is offered to local gardeners.

This is a perfect example of how a few like-minded individuals can make a positive change in their community and we hope many others will use The Rot Riders as an inspiration to make a change for the better within their own communities.


With their efforts expanding, The Rot Riders are looking for volunteers to help them expand. If you are in the area and would like to help, just shoot an email torotriders@kvpermaculture.org.



Recycle or Resell? - Cardboard Boxes

Recycled Cardboard Boxes

Many businesses that are environmentally responsible will discard their used cardboard boxes off to the recycling centers, but environmentally responsible businesses that are also a bit savvy, will avoid recycling their used boxes and resell them toUsedCardboardBoxes.com instead.

Marty Metro, Founder and CEO of UsedCardboardBoxes.com has taken his "neighborhood experiment" of buying and selling used cardboard boxes, and turned it into a business that has a customer base that includes a national contract UPS and has caught the attention ofWal-Mart by claiming to cut their costs by 10-15 percent!


UsedCardboardBoxes.com buys used boxes from large companies at higher rate than recycling centers and then sells the used boxes to other companies and consumers at a lower rate than retail stores. They offer free 1-2 day shipping and services every residential and business address in the continental U.S.!

The company's slogan is fantastic: "Save time, save money, save trees"!


Below is a video about UsedCardboardBoxes.com that is definitely worth a look:

Donate Your Voice for World Water Week: March 19-24

It's World Water Week and thousands of people across the globe are scavenging for water to survive. Most only get a few cups of contaminated water per day.

What can you do to help? There is a lot you can do. Start by watching the video below fromWater.org:



Please help. We donated our voice, will you?

Eco Friendly Packaging Made from Mushrooms!


A while back we wrote a post about a specific amazing fungi being able to digestpolyurethane, but when thinking about environmentally friendly alternatives to the hugestyrofoam (Polystyrene) packaging problem, do mushrooms come to mind?

They will now. In 2007, Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre founded EcoCradle, a company that creates a mushroom based alternative to styrofoam packaging!

How does it work? After becoming fascinated with mushrooms growing amongst wood chips, Eben and Gavin noticed how the fungal 
mycelium (the vegetative part containing thread like hyphae) strongly bonded the wood chips together. this observation inspired them to think about using the mycelium as a bonding resin.

EcoCradle uses agricultural waste such as buckwheat husks, oat hulls, or cotton burrs for the mycelium to grow around which will form to any mold made by the company. After 5 to 7 days in the dark, without water, "the mycelium envelops the by-products, binding them into a strong and beautiful packaging part." 


This time-lapse video condenses 14 days of EcoCradle growth into 14 seconds:
 



Simply amazing! Another amazing aspect of this new earth friendly packaging, which attributes to it's durability, is the fact that inside each cubic inch of an EcoCradle package is a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibers!

EcoCradle offers packaging products such as wine shippers, corner blocks, and small or large panels as well as consumer products such as candles, bowls, message boards, Basil starter pots, and even toy "rubber" duckies!  Custom products and design are also available.


All these products are made from mushrooms and agricultural byproducts and are 100% compostable! 


Below is a short video explanation from EcoCradle's CEO, Eben Bayer, before their launch in 2010:
 

 

Recology, IBM, and KeyInfo: Making SF More "Green"



Almost everyone has heard of IBM. Many have heard of KeyInfo. Some may have heard ofRecology. Do you know how their partnership is making San Francisco a better and greener city, and how many millions of tons of waste they have kept out of landfills?

Check out the short video below and be amazed!
 
 

The above video was produced by Fred+Ethel.