We've had a great response on our Facebook group page. We've started a discussion regarding the Zero Waste Crusade. One of the questions asked, "What materials are these made of..."? What constitutes "renewable" and "sustainable"? What about those landfills?
We'd like to start off by saying that landfills are NOT exactly an efficient place for disposing of everyday biodegradables (such as food and plant waste etc). Nothing truly biodegrades in a landfull, not for a very very long time anyway. Its said that even an apple can last 100 years or more in a landfill. Having said that, an apple, like our Bhumi products, are not forever and are not toxic to the environment, leaching chemicals into our valuable water resources, or poisoning our marine and wild life eco-systems and so on. As part of our mission, we want to see cities develop composting facilities and divert unnecessary waste from going into landfills. Cities can turn valuable compost into life giving earth. This is another subject we'll be talking about more in future blogs.
So let's discuss our products a bit. The field of bioplastics is constantly evolving with new materials and technologies being developed and being brought to market. Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable & compostable plastics derived from renewable raw materials such as starch (corn, potato, tapioca etc). These items are made into PolyActide (PLA) where corn is generally the main raw material being used in the manufacture of bioplastic resins for clear cups, lids, deli and sushi type trays etc. Other products are produced from potato, like our Bhumi cutlery (forks, spoons and knives). All of our products meet stringent, scientifically based specifications set by international organizations. Our products are BPI approved (Biodegradable Products Institute) for compostability and designated ASTM D6400, one of the most in-demand standards to address plastics and products made from plastics that are designed to be composted in professionally managed municipal and industrial composting facilities. These products are ideal for organics diversion programs.
Bhumi paper-based cups come from properly managed softwood forests and can be recycled and/or composted in municipal composting facilities. Unlike your standard "coffee" cup with plastic lid, Bhumi paper cups and lids DO NOT contain any toxic chemicals. Polystrene based materials and wax/plastic lined paper products are not biodegradable or compostable. When disposed of in a landfill, they can take hundreds of years to breakdown and decompose, if at all.
Bhumi believes that further uses towards treeless paper products will be the future in meeting consumer demands for saving forest resources. Businesses are going to want to tell their customer they have made the switch to bio-compostables. Bhumi meets this demand through its core product line of plates, bowls and other take-out packaging made from Bagasse. Bagasse is the biomass fibre residue remaining after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juices. It is currently used as a renewable resource in the manufacture of pulp and paper products (napkins, toilet paper, tissue, paper towels) and building materials. For each 10 tonnes of sugarcane crushed, a sugar factory produces nearly 3 tonnes of wet bagasse. Since bagasse is a by-product of the cane sugar industry, the quantity of production in each country is in line with the quantity of sugarcane produced.
Bagasse is truly perfect for making insulated disposable food containers, replacing materials such as Styrofoam, which are increasingly regarded as environmentally unacceptable. Bagasse has proven to be a breakthrough solution to hazardous chemical use and deforestation for the mass food service industry. The products are made under high pressure and heat to form the molds and toxic chemicals are not used during the process. They are indeed fully compostable.
Until recently, Bagasse was treated as waste by-product that was destroyed through incineration -- possibly adding to a negative impact on the environment. Through the advances of technology, it is now often used as the primary fuel source for operating these sugar mills, with energy to spare. To this end, a secondary use for this waste product is in cogeneration, the use of a fuel source not only to provide both energy used in the mill, but also electricity, which can typically be sold on to the consumer electricity grid.
The resulting CO2 emissions (a gas required for plant growth) are equal to the amount of CO2 that the sugarcane plant absorbed from the atmosphere during its growing phase, which makes the process of cogeneration greenhouse gas-neutral. Interestingly enough, ethanol produced from the sugar in sugarcane is a popular bio-fuel source in Brazil.
Why are sugarcane bagasse products better for the environment?
Sugarcane Bagasse products are more energy efficient to produce compared to pulping wood from non-managed forests or manufacturing polystyrene from oil.
Sugarcane Bagasse products are 100% sustainable. The sugarcane grows back annually.
Polystyrene is made from oil, which is not renewable and is a finite resource. Paper products are often derived from virgin wood rather than sustainable plantations. They are also lined with plastic to make them heat-resistant. Sugarcane bagasse products require no plastic or wax lining, and are suitable for both hot and cold items.
Sugarcane Bagasse products are 100% biodegradable and compostable. This means that they can break down relatively quickly into carbon dioxide, water and non-toxic organic matter. This organic matter can then be used as compost to support plant growth.
A goal of Get it to Go Green is to convince the cities to ban Styrofoam packaging in the food and beverage industry.
Not only are you eating rice noodles out of that Styrofoam takeout container, you may be feeding yourself tasty carcinogens. Oh, and you'll pollute the environment when you toss the container in the garbage (or on the sidewalk, for all the difference it makes). Of course, that won't matter if the styrene in the Styrofoam gets to you first.
But this is a scenario that can be avoided! Read article from the Torontoist.com. http://torontoist.com/2007/01/sugar_cane_corn.php (copy and paste this link)