all about plastic bags.

While the City of Edmonton publicly musing about taking the progressive step of joining the growing ranks of plastic bag-free/limited cities and countries around the world (Vancouver is debating a similar ban in British Columbia’s Lower Mainland), I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some cool developments occurring in the world of plastic bags…

– In Waterloo, Ontario, 16-year old science fair contestant Daniel Burd may have helped find a way to rid the world more quickly of the plastic bag problem:

…Burd mixed landfill dirt with yeast and tap water, then added ground plastic and let it stew. The plastic indeed decomposed more quickly than it would in nature; after experimenting with different temperatures and configurations, Burd isolated the microbial munchers. One came from the bacterial genus Pseudomonas, and the other from the genus Sphingomonas.

Burd says this should be easy on an industrial scale: all that’s needed is a fermenter, a growth medium and plastic, and the bacteria themselves provide most of the energy by producing heat as they eat. The only waste is water and a bit of carbon dioxide.

Bill Given recently posted this video on his blog:

Debbie Reynolds wrote on GoGreen about some good ideas on how we can decrease our dependence on plastic bags by describing two different types of bags being labeled as “biodegradable” – one is made from plastic (which are actually a combination of polyethylene and starch, which leaves small fragments of toxic plastic in the soil that last just as long as a regular polyethylene plastic bags) and another from corn starch:

The biodegradable corn-starch based bags are not only biodegradable but also ‘compostable,’ which means they will completely break down into carbon and water in under 120 days under industrial composting conditions. A compostable product will not contaminate the soil in which it was composted with heavy metals. Nor will it leave tiny fragments of plastic behind. Environmentally, compostable bags are the better choice of the two.

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