Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bagasse is better than Biopolymers

Let's face it, unless something catastrophic changes in this world, all the people in the world are not going to opt to use a reusable cup, for those frequent trips to Starbucks. I most certainly did not turn down that cold draft beer when served to me in a plastic cup this past winter. So, until that catastrophe comes though, we need to seriously rethink disposable products we are using.

I have spent the past several hours looking into this whole corn based plastic dilemma and it's farcical biodegradability claim and have discovered that our picnic options can be less taxing on the landfills. Bio-polymers, or the bio-plastics like PLA made from corn, might be renewable but they are not sustainable in terms of waste or byproducts.

Bagasse on the other hand, derived from the byproducts of sugarcane use, is essentially a waste product that once cost sugar mills additional costs for disposal. This fiber, left over after the juice has been squeezed out of sugarcane stalks, is how used as a biomass. It holds promise as a fuel source since as it can produce more than enough heat energy to supply the needs of a common sugar mill. A waste product, it is also used as a locally-grown source for manufacturing cellulose ethanol.

offers new possibilities for disposable or reusable products without the lasting reminder in the landfill. Sugarcane is renewable annually, is widely cultivated in several countries with developing economies, is a convenient way of clearing a waste product, and requires minimal processing to turn it into a usable and high strength paper product.
Paper vs. plastic was the selling point for me. Bagasse products can be found at , where I will also be ordering my business supplies from.

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