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2011 0512 platt rpn_webinar_may12_2011 v2


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2011 0512 platt rpn_webinar_may12_2011 v2

  1. 1. Compostable biobased food service ware Brenda Platt SBC Co-Chair Institute for Local Self-Reliance May 12, 2011Responsible Purchasing Network Webinar
  2. 2. Overview Why use compostable food service ware? Understanding difference between biobased vs biodegradable vs compostable Programs utilizing compostable products Compostable alone ≠ sustainable Criteria for environmentally preferable biobased food service ware
  3. 3. Resource Conservation Hierarchy Most Preferable Avoid & Reduce Reuse Recycle & Compost Treat Dispose Source: U.S. EPA Least Preferable
  4. 4. U.S. municipal waste disposed 160.9 million tons in 2009Source: US EPA, 2009 data (
  5. 5. Plastics Recycling: Failure? 35,000 30,000 25,000 20,000 Waste GeneratedThousands of tons Material Recycledof plastics 15,000 10,000 5,000 - 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2007 2009 Source: US EPA, 2009 data (
  6. 6. Composting: A Success StoryYard Debris,Thousandsof tons Source: US EPA, 2009 data (
  7. 7.  Creates a rich nutrient-filled material, humus, Increases the nutrient content in soils, Helps soils retain moisture, Reduces or eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers, Suppresses plant diseases and pests, Promotes higher yields of agricultural crops, Helps regenerate poor soils, Has the ability to cleanup (remediate) contaminated soil, Can help prevent pollution and manage erosion problems.BLACK GOLD
  8. 8. Benefits of Biobased Alternatives Can be composted locally into a soil amendment Can help capture food discards Can complement zero waste goals Can replace many harmful conventional plastics Can be fully biodegradable (capable of being utilized by living matter) Can be made from a variety of renewable resources
  9. 9. How Exposure to Polystyrene Affects the Human Body  Polystyrene in made from the monomer styrene (vinyl benzene)  Styrene remains present in polystyrene (no polymerization process is 100% efficient)  Styrene = a neurotoxicant and suspected human carcinogen  Styrene impairs the central and peripheral nervous systems.  Exposure to styrene in the workplace has also been associated with chromosomal aberrations, thus is considered a mutagen.  Carcinogenic Effects: Proven that it causes cancer in animals, but there are no long- term studies showing that PS causes cancer in humans.  Polystyrene contains alkylphenols, an additive linked to breast cancer.
  10. 10. Styrene Leaches into Food“The ability of styrene monomer to migrate frompolystyrene packaging to food has been reported in anumber of publications and probably accounts for thegreatest contamination of foods by styrenemonomer.”World Health OrganizationStyrene Chapter, Air Quality Guidelines-2nd Edition, WHORegional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2000 (search “Chapter 5.12 Styrene”)
  11. 11. The Good News on Biobased Alternatives  Variety of resins & products available  Performance improving  Experience and R&D growing  Growth expected  The federal biobased procurement program – BioPreferred – will open up new markets  Standards in place  Price competitiveness improving  Demand increasing
  12. 12. ASTM Standards & 3rd-party certifiers D 6866 – defines and quantifies biobased content D 6400 – specification for biodegradation in commercial composting systems D 7081 – specification for biodegradation in the marine environment D 5988 – test method for biodegradation in soil D 5511 – test method for biodegradation in anaerobic digesters
  13. 13. Degradable Vs. BiodegradableDegradable BiodegradableMay be invisible to naked Completely assimilated into eye food and energy sourceFragment into smaller pieces by microbial populationsNo data to document in a short time period biodegradability within Meet biodegradability one growing season standardsMigrate into water tableNot completely assimilated by microbial populations in a short time period 1989 Cover of Environmental ActionSource for definitions: Dr. Ramani Narayan, Michigan State Univ.
  14. 14. Biodegradable vs. BiobasedNon-biodegradable biobased plastics are here
  15. 15. Biodegradability alone is not an environmental goal Products should be:  Reusable,  Recyclable, or  Compostable Purchasers can use their purchasing power to drive the market toward more environmentally preferable products
  16. 16. Boulder Farmers’ Market
  17. 17. Whole Foods
  18. 18. ESPN X Games use of compostable bio-ware and organics collection = 80% event waste diversion!© Disney
  19. 19. San Francisco: Aiming for Zero Waste
  20. 20. Color-coded compostable design for 400k at SF Festival Photos courtesy of City of San Francisco
  21. 21. Seattle: Cedar Grove Composting
  22. 22. Seattle: Compostable Food Service Ware
  23. 23. Acceptable Compostable Products
  24. 24. More Info on Early Adopters
  25. 25. Not All Bioproducts Created Equal  Biobased content  Additives and blends  Material feedstock type  Recyclability  Feedstock location  Performance  Biodegradability  Products  Commercial compost sites  Home composting  Marine environment  Anaerobic digestionBiobased content alone ≠ sustainable
  26. 26. Challenges with Biobased ProductsConcern over genetically modified organisms (GMOs)Desire for sustainably grown biomassNeed to develop adequate recycling and compostingprogramsConcern with nanomaterials andfossil-fuel-plastic blendsLack of adequate labelingConcern over contaminationof recycling systems
  27. 27. Genetically Modified Crops  Can be toxic, allergenic or less nutritious than their natural counterparts  Can disrupt the ecosystem, damage vulnerable wild plant and animal populations and harm biodiversity  Increase chemical inputs (pesticides, herbicides) over the long term  Deliver yields that are no better, and often worse, than conventional crops  Cause or exacerbate a range of social and economic problems  Are laboratory-made and, once released, harmful GMOs cannot be recalled from the environment. Source:
  28. 28. What We Put Into Corn… Average of over 120 lbs. nitrogen fertilizer per acre Among the highest levels of herbicide and pesticide use for conventional crops Irrigation water Proprietary hybrids
  29. 29. Survey Data: feedstock types and sources China  India – Bulrush – Fallen palm leaves – Bagasse  Thailand/Vietnam – Tapioca starch – PSM (Plastarch Material) – Grass fiber – Corn – Bagasse – Chinese PLA  Malaysia – PHBV* – Palm fiber – PBS**  USA – Cornstarch – NatureWorks PLA – “Natural total chlorine-free pulp” – Recycled wood fiber *polyhydroxybutyrate-polyhydroxyvalerate **polybutylene succinate (petrochemical + succinic acid)
  30. 30. Path from Field to Producer “The source product is from Brazil,then turned into cornstarch in China, then the starch is used in our manufacturer’s facility.” “Feedstocks grown in Midwestern US. Manufacture the resin in Hawthorne, CA today, but plan to manufacture in Seymour, IN shortly.”
  31. 31. Recyclable?
  32. 32. Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative As You SowThe Sustainable Biomaterials Center for Health, Environment and JusticeCollaborative is a network of Clean Production Action * Environmental Health Fund *organizations working together to Green Harvest Technologies Green Purchasing Institutespur the introduction and use of Health Care Without Harm Healthy Building Networkbiomaterials that are sustainable Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy *from cradle to cradle. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance* Lowell Center for Sustainable Production *Collaborative is creating Sustainable Research Group Pure Strategiessustainability guidelines, RecycleWorld Consultingengaging markets, and promoting Responsible Purchasing Network Science & Environmental Health Networkpolicy initiatives. Seventh Generation National Campaign for Sustainable Ag. Whole Foods City of San Francisco * Steering committee
  33. 33. Defining Sustainable Life Cycles by Principles  Sustainable feedstocks / Sustainable agriculture  Green chemistry / Clean production  Closed loop systems / cradle to cradle / zero waste“Just because it’s biobased, doesn’t make it green”
  34. 34. Biomass Feedstock Avoid hazardous chemicals Avoid GMOs Conserve soil & nutrients Biological diversity Sustainable agriculture plan Protect workers
  35. 35. Manufacturing Support sustainable feedstock Reduce fossil energy use Avoid problematic blends & additives Avoid untested chemicals and engineered nano particles Design for recycling & composting Maximize process safety/reduce emissions Green chemistry Protect workers 35
  36. 36. End of Life Compostable or recyclable Biodegradable in aquatic systems Adequate product labeling Adequate recovery infrastructure
  37. 37. Development of Specifications forEnvironmentally Preferable Products
  38. 38. Next Steps Vetted List of Products  Clear process for manufacturers to assess conformance to criteria  Beta-test conformance process Green Purchasing Institute finalize sample purchasing bid specifications and documents Work with purchasers to beta-test bid specs
  39. 39. Contact Brenda Platt SBC, Co-ChairInstitute for Local Self-Reliance, Co-Director 202-898-1610 ext 230