The Biodegradagarden


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An experiment in disposable container technology

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The Biodegradagarden

  1. 1. The Biodegradagarden: An experiment in disposable container technology
  2. 2. <ul><li>Day One: Planted 4 types of biodegradable disposable containers </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Day One: Planted 4 types of biodegradable disposable containers </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The containers are all marketed as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional disposable food containers </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>This experiment seeks to find out if these materials will decompose in a backyard garden environment </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>My hypothesis is that the containers will not break down in this environment within one year’s time </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>And that the materials require a commercial composting facility to completely biodegrade in less than 1 year </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>In most landfills these containers would not receive the adequate amount of oxygen, heat, or water that they need to decompose in a timely manner </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Will the containers fare better in the garden conditions? </li></ul><ul><li>Will they decompose before my lease is up? </li></ul><ul><li>Lacking a commercial composting facility, what is the ideal way to dispose of these materials? </li></ul><ul><li>Should one consider refusing disposable containers rather than pondering these questions? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Maximum Estimated Time of Decomposition for Disposable Containers (in months) According to manufacturer
  11. 11. <ul><li>One month later - very little change in above ground appearance, decided not to dig up for observation </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Five months after planting </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>The two cardboard containers completely disintegrated below the ground </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Not a trace was left in the soil </li></ul>
  15. 16. <ul><li>The wax-coated cold cups showed some change, while the compostable plastic cup showed no change </li></ul>
  16. 18. <ul><li>The cold cup containers are made of paper and a wax coating called Ingeo™ biopolymer (plant-derived polylactic acid or PLA) </li></ul>
  17. 19. <ul><li>According to the manufacturer these containers should ideally be composted to biodegrade, but some changes did occur in the garden - particularly in the paper </li></ul>
  18. 20. <ul><li>This cup is made of PLA (polylactic acid - derived from corn starch) and should decompose completely in less than 6 months in a commercial facility </li></ul>
  19. 21. <ul><li>In a home composting environment, biodegradation could take up to a year or more </li></ul><ul><li>In these garden conditions, no discernible change has occurred in 5 months and it is reasonable to assume that it may take years to decompose </li></ul><ul><li>In a landfill it would take decades 1 </li></ul><ul><li> (the manufacturer) </li></ul>
  20. 22. <ul><li>The biodegradable foam, made of traditional polypropylene or polystyrene plastic along with an additive called AOC also showed no visible changes </li></ul>
  21. 23. <ul><li>The AOC (Active Organic Catalyst) additive is designed to interact with microorganisms present in compost, landfills, soil, and even oceans, lakes and forests </li></ul>
  22. 24. <ul><li>The additive acts as a catalyst to encourage microorganisms to break the material down into soil </li></ul><ul><li>The company does not specify how long the biodegradation process should take for this product, but estimates assume up to 2 years in home compost and 1 year in a commercial facility </li></ul>
  23. 25. Percentage of Decomposition in the Biodegradagarden Over a Period of 5 months
  24. 26. <ul><li>The containers were replanted for further observation </li></ul>
  25. 27. <ul><li>A few weeks later….. </li></ul>
  26. 28. <ul><li>Something very interesting happened </li></ul>
  27. 34. <ul><li>The chemical AOC additive had mutated the plastic and grown into an edible herb </li></ul><ul><li>Enviroware, the manufacturer of these foam containers, has named the product of this new phenomenon Enviroherb™ </li></ul><ul><li>Recent studies have shown the herb to reduce cholesterol levels, boost immunity and help protect against memory loss, while providing a good source of antioxidants and magnesium </li></ul>
  28. 35. <ul><li>Try Enviroherb™ in soups, on salads, or use it in a marinade - you can even make Enviroherb™ tea </li></ul>
  29. 36. <ul><li>If your foodservice provider still uses “traditional” disposable containers ask that they switch to Enviroware™ - the only plantable disposable container on the market </li></ul>
  30. 37. <ul><li>In conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>This experiment has proven that this time the “lesser of two evils” in disposable container products has literally risen from the ground to become, in fact, a good - and a delicious one at that! </li></ul>
  31. 38. <ul><li>Thank You </li></ul>