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arthur gordon
Landfill Waste Reduction - A Simple Solution (biodegradable Packaging)
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Landfill Waste Reduction - A Simple Solution

by Arthur Gordon

In an effort to deal with the challenge of diminishing landfill space at our local landfills, many states and municipalities have enacted ordinances which mandate a significant waste reduction to these landfills. A significant part of the current solution has involved educating people to recycle many items such as plastic, glass and paper products.  Many local governments have made it easier for us to recycle by providing curbside recycling programs. The end result has been very positive and the waste reduction goals are being met.  However, there is a simple solution to this problem.  We need to have companies start to only use biodegradable packaging in their food related products. 

The Barriers to Using Biodegradable Packaging

To me it seems like a no brainer.  All packaging should by biodegradable.  What are the barriers to using only biodegradable packaging in all food related products?  Is it cost? Is is lack of availability? Is it lack of technology?  Is it just plain laziness and apathy? I do not know.  But I do know one thing:  There are plenty of biodegrable packaging products that are available. I recently looked online and saw numerous products being offered. I also am sure that if more of these products were being purchased, the price would most likely go down due to the basic principle of economics: supply and demand.  

Biodegradable Packaging in Upscale Restaurants and in Fast Food Restaurants

I understand why most restaurants do not want to use paper plates and cups and plastic utensils that are biodegradable.  They understand that people are paying alot of money for their meal and do not want to be served their steak, seafood, chicken or pasta on a paper plate with a paper cup and plastic utensils. However, I do not understand why every fast food restaurant is not mandated to use biodegradable plates, cups and utensils during all hours of operation.  Just think of how many fast food containers are tossed into the garbage each day all over the country?  Mindboggling. 

Supermarkets and Grocery Stores

When I go food shopping in my local supermarket I am amazed by the amount of packaging surrounding the actual food item.  Then I start to think how most of this packaging will be thrown in the garbage. Just imagine if all the food packaging was biodegradable. I just wonder how much more would it cost to make all packaging biodegradable or could it be done for about the same price? I sure would like to find out.  

Public Demand for Biodegradable Packaging

Aren't we always told to let our local and statewide officials know about our opinions on certain issues? How about this one.  Imagine if everyone in the community emailed our local and statewide officials about the need to make biodegradable packaging mandatory in all food related products that are currently being used today.  Better yet, why don't we email all of these companies and let them know how we feel?  Of course, we would probably get a response like it would be too costly and we do not have the technology to do this. 

Public and Corporate Cooperation

I know that businesses can work with the public to come up with a solution to this problem. If not, our landfills will fill up before we can either expand the existing landfill or get additional sites approved for use. We just need to have a sense of urgency and make this a priority. Then and only then will anything get done. 


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