Beyond Recycling - Greening Your Garbage

The recycling process is important and has a part to play in sustainability. But it does use energy and resources; hence there is a net environment cost. Many of the products that we think are ‘recycled’ are actually ‘downcycled’ . And, even after recycling, we are still left with bags of trash. Each household produces about 1 tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to about 27 million tonnes for the UK each year.

So how do we trash and still remain environmentally friendly?

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Aside from seeking products that can be recycled, three other ways are:

  1. By using products that can be reused. For example using containers for cookies, butters, cakes etc. for other purposes, using reusable shopping bags, etc.
  2. By setting up a compost area in our backyard where vegetable scraps, used paper towels, egg shells etc. can be turned into rich humus.  The article "5 Tips on Making Compost in Your Yard." can help you get started.
  3. By making sure our garbage is eco-friendly.

This can only be possible if we use biodegradable and compostable products.  Examples of such products include nappies, wipes, cleaning products, washing powders and disposable tableware. Disposable tableware is a common everyday product used increasingly by households.

Many disposable tableware are made of foam or coated with plastic both of which are not only toxic and produce toxic waste when produced. In addition, disposable plastic tableware is for one time use only and they are then trashed.  As they are non-biodegradable, they are never disposed off, thereby adding to the garbage pile in the landfill on a permanent basis and polluting the whole environment.

A biodegradable product that breaks down quickly and  is compostable results in a byproduct that is  rich in minerals.
Ideal for gardening - mulching
Ideal for farming - soil conditioning

Compost is a natural plant growing medium that reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.

Element disposable tableware. are 100% biodegrable and 70% compostable . Element products have the BPI certification.   Given the correct conditions (temperature, humidity and the presence of microbes), Element products will biodegrade after 90 days.  The byproduct of non-toxic humus waste  (dark rich soil) can be used as fertilizers

They are made from Origo which comprises 70% corn and 30% polypropylene (petrol plastic PP).   Origo is a starch based bio-plastic made primarily from corn and yam.

Technically, starch-based plastics like Origo can be recycled. However, the volume available for recycling is not huge enough because usage of such bioplastics is not as widespread. It is therefore not justifiable to build and maintain a recycling facility.
Other attributes of Element products include:

  • Element products are toxic free and do not leach harmful substances into the food  even at high temperatures. After being dumped or incinerated, the waste produced is non-toxic humus waste which can be used as fertilizers.
  • When incinerated the gas emitted is also non-toxic. Thus, Element does not have the health hazards associated with the usage of plastic and Styrospork tableware.
  • It can be reused up to 3 times.

Biodegradable and compostable products help businesses and consumers protect the environment!