Saturday, December 29, 2007

Plastic Alternative

We have all heard about corn-based ethanol by now. What about a corn-based plastic alternative? It is out there and I have even bought cups for a picnic this summer. I threw the used ones in my home compost bin but now I'm not so sure about this stuff. An excellent article at Smithsonian Magazine goes in-depth about this product and its benefits and drawbacks . It is known as polylactic acid or PLA and can be used in many applications.

There has been a lot of criticism surrounding corn-based ethanol policy in the U.S. I have not been a big supporter (post and video)
I feel most of the support for corn ethanol is political and is not sound policy. After reading the Smithsonian article I wonder about PLA as well. However, a couple of excellent points are made in the article and should be the considered when debating alternatives to plastic: How much do we really need? Why don't we design products with a different life cycle in mind? The article is long but well worth the read.

I think we will see many alternatives in the near future that will capture our attention. However, I'm afraid that designing new products that fit the old economic model that got us here will not work like we think.

P.S. December 30, 2007

I forgot I had this video post on plastic alternatives a while ago. Enjoy.


Fenix39 said...

I like the idea of ethanol, but this is not a solution is just "putting a band-aid to a deep wound". We need some other alternative. A report done by The Nation Magazine, magazine shows that it takes 400 lbs of corn to fill up an Suv. In my point of view, I think instead of finding solutions, we should prevent problems. Thank you.

eazibee said...

Hi - I found your blog through the 'blogs of note' link and have read it a few times since. I really like your approach and I have learnt a lot from your site - both content and layout. Thanks so much. Keep it up. You tackle important subject matter.

For what it's worth, I'm not convinced about ethanol either. Seems like yet another mechanism for avoiding tough questions... We need a more imaginative approach. E

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grandmatexas said...

Plastic has it's place, perhaps in medical applications, but should be selective.

One of my posts was on disposable diapers. Oh my gosh, they are choking the life out of mother earth.

A consumer driven society is it's own downfall. Like Babel.

We should revere mother earth - good job - rave on.

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