Wednesday, April 15, 2009

B: 8 months and counting

Round about September 2008 we walked down to the Whole Foods and picked up some pints of ice-cream and ate them outside. It was a pleasant evening and cheaper than Baskin Robbins. We ate our ice cream with some nifty spoons that claimed to be bio-degradable....I thought neat! Let's see how fast they degrade, so I tossed one in the compost bin. 

It persisted through the last hot days, and there it stayed through the winter. I had forgotten about it until I was turning over the pile the other day and harvesting some nice compost for the garden.....Not only has it not degraded, but if you cleaned it up it would be indistinguishable from what it looked like when it was brand new.

I don't know how it would in a saturated environment, and it would probably prove to be digestible by animals, which plastic isn't, but it sure as hell won't break down in a landfill if it can survive my compost pile. I am a huge fan of plastic alternatives, but I guess I have some alternative expectations for what Biodegradable ought to mean. 


susan said...

Bummer. At work, our cafeterias all switched over to compostable silverware and plates. Based on how they react to heat I've just assumed that of course they break down quickly, but now this makes me wonder...

mandy said...

I suspect the issue is that these starch based utensils are not persistent in the environment. Persistence is a relative term on a geologic scale. I applaud people reducing usage of plastics that don't get recycled, because they are persistent on a truly geologic time scale.