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If You’re Going to Go With Disposable Tableware, Go Compostable and Bio-degradable.
Compostable: adj. Environmentally-friendly products that break down into carbon and water in a specified time frame under industrial composting conditions, leaving no trace that it ever existed.

By Wendy Andelson

You do know that Styrofoam and plastic products never actually fully deteriorate? Or, that paper tableware products play a significant role in destroying our forests? Those products refer to the stacks of paper plates, plastic cups and cutlery that line the shelves of your office kitchen. Yes, those disposable products are convenient and necessary, especially in an office setting, but when there are eco-friendly alternatives, why wouldn’t you switch to the better product? Biodegradable products match the quality and convenience of traditional plastic and paper disposable items without causing havoc to our environment. Did I mention that a biodegradable cup takes the same amount of time to disintegrate as an orange peel?

For those not-so-savvy environmental consumers, check out these interesting facts that may change your perspective:

What are biodegradable products (PLA and Bagasse) made from? Why should I use these instead of my paper and plastic disposable products?

PLA (Polylactide), also referred to as corn plastics, is made from cornstarch. Corn plastic products look and feel like traditional plastic but are 100% biodegradable and compostable. PLA products are much more sustainable than plastic because corn is a renewable resource and does not contribute to the depletion of the world’s limited petroleum resources needed to manufacture traditional plastic. Producing corn plastic products generates fewer greenhouse gasses, contains no toxins and uses 65% less energy. These products match the resiliency of traditional plastic food containers and can handle hot and cold temperatures but have the capability to compost in 4-6 weeks.

Bagasse is made from sugarcane. Typically, used sugarcane stalks are considered waste and therefore burned or disposed. Though, it was discovered that the pulp of the sugarcane stalk could be used to produce a paper-like material used to make food service products. Like PLA, Bagasse is microwave-safe and can tolerate hot and cold temperatures. It composts in approximately 6-8 weeks. Not only does Bagasse come from sugarcane, another renewable resource, but it is produced from a product that was once considered waste!

Americans toss 14.4 million tons of plastic every year - that accounts for 8% of the overall trash we dump in American landfills. Although Americans represent just 5% of the global population, we produce an outrageous 30% of the world’s waste. Every sixteen minutes, a forest the size of New York City’s Central Park is destroyed for the manufacturing of paper products.

So if your business currently uses disposable Styrofoam, traditional plastic, or paper products, do you really want to further contribute to these statistics? Ditch your old disposable and choose biodegradable.

Fill cup. Empty cup. Dump cup. Waste cup. Repeat. Go biodegradable and break the cycle.

The environment can’t wait.

WENDY ANDELSON, President of ANDELSON+PARTNERS, Inc., an environmental consulting firm, has your “green” solutions to everyday business waste. ANDELSON+PARTNERS researched the market to find the highest quality, environmentally- friendly products at the most competitive prices. ANDELSON+PARTNERS is committed to assisting businesses implement recycling and environmental programs that reduce costs and increase sustainability. Visit www.AndelsonConsulting.com for more information.

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