Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Corn Products

This is the plastic band from my new box of Quaker oats. Not only is the band a corn product, but the manufacturer added a step to the process to be sure we know that. Do you suppose the ink is soy?

I like the fact that the plastic is biodegradable. But I'm not convinced about the "more sustainable" part of EarthFirst's claim for PLA film. How much oil did it take to grow the corn and process it into the bit of plastic? What ever happened to the old oatmeal boxes that were entirely cardboard with a bit of cotton string to open the box?

Oh, look. NatureWorks Polymer is a Cargill company. I'm trying to keep an open mind about this. But Cargill's going to have a really hard time convincing me their priority is protecting the environment rather than maximizing their profit.


KAZ said...

For our Superbowl Party this year, I bought EarthShell biodegradable chili bowls that were made of starch from potatoes(!) and lime from limestone. In theory, you can crumple them up and put them in the compost bin. Oddly, they came wrapped in a plastic seal. The story seems to be that they require less energy to make than plastic, plus they can do things with the potatoes, so there's no waste. They're doing similar things with sugar cane. I'm not 100% convinced, but I was willing to try it. (I did wonder about nibbling the bowls like a taco salad shell, but I didn't do it.)

Anonymous said...

Potatoes, lime and corn! Who would have thought there would be an alternative to oil based plastics. It's such a big part of our lives and I've been hearing some of the harmful effects of some types of oil-based plastics contaminating food and water. Other than glass or aluminum containers, I would consider a corn or potato based plastic any day. I just checked out NatureWorks website and its quite least it seems like a step in the right direction. Now if only I can find more of these products in my local grocery stores!

Anonymous said...

Sounds great but I do recommend researching this a lot before going out and changing your buying habits. Unfortunately, it is extremely complex. PLA is pretty good, but corn growing in general is pretty evil, as is Cargill. NatureWorks has a non-GM option but barely any US manufacturers opt into it. Push your favorite companies to do this. And remember, PLA is NOT compostable regardless of what the package says. It is only industrially compostable, which means it needs to be composted in large industrial facilities, and there are only a few in the US. It will not degrade at home in your compost bin.

RealityQueen said...

There is huge potential going green and business profits! I think it best we are cautious about these products because of people who want to be ethically green - but don't fully understand the implications of the product. But I agree with the statement that is it is going in the right direction.

I think it was you who taught me just because it says natural doesn't mean it is. You also opened my eyes to tricks in marketing. Remember your beef with Hanes? If you could see my huge grin. HA!