I have a dog who poops on a daily basis. And I know all you dog owners out there (especially ye who obey the 11th Commandment: "Should it not be yer own yard, ye shall pick up after your dog.") Can I get an "amen" for plastic grocery bags? Given the fact that I don't have space to compost Hugo's doo-doo nor do I have the slightest desire to collect 365 bags of poop in my guest room for this experiment, I had to come up with an alternative. In addition, I am not collecting my total garbage effluent, so I needed to come up with an alternative for kitchen garbage bags too.
I got onto poopbags.com and bought my annual supply of kitchen and poop bags for the year. They are not without sin to be sure--they are made from corn which is technically better than a human-made polyethylene terepthalate, but I have no idea where the corn comes from. The product is "BioBag" and they claim to use non-GMO starches and a material known as Mater-Bi which is a trademarked product of an Italian company called Novamont. I went to materbi.com, but was not able to activate a lot of their links, so wasn't able to learn too much about it. On the box, it says it is a product of Norway. The company will only source corn from countries that are GMO-free, so that rules out acquiring a US corn supply. Alas, the bags make a long journey of approximately 3,500 miles (guesstimating from Oslo). They may be able to claim that no polyethylene is used in the production of the bags. So then...what--their machines to fabricate the bags run on biofuels and contain absolutely no plastic parts? And what about transport? That's a lot of fossil fuels trailing behind that 18-wheeler dashboard and plastic-coated cockpit. One step at a time, I guess.
This brings me to my ultimate justification for the time being. Most of the garbage in Boston goes to an incinerator in Ware, MA. So, I would rather have corn smoke rather than plastic smoke billowing out. However, this justification has expired because I am in Beverly and have yet to discover where our trash and recycling goes. If it goes to a landfill, I'm not sure it matters either way since corn and plastic and everything else are mummified rather than broken down in order to protect our groundwater supplies. So, how do I keep the poop out of the bags all together? Well, I have known about pet waste composters for a few years now and would LOVE to know if anyone has had first hand experience with these. I found a good step-by-step on how to make your own here. However, my issue, like many in the Northeast is that I live in a multi-family (aka, multi-opinionated) dwelling. What seems like a fantastic idea to me may likely raise the eyebrows and tempers of my neighbors. Therefore, until I get land of my "own" I will stick with BioBag unless anyone else has any suggestions.
I'll close with 2 questions: How much more resourceful and innovative would we be if we were forced to deal with all of our waste where we live and work? How would you change your habits if you went from NIMBY to YIMBY?
Folks, this is about my "consumption" of plastic over the next year. I'm looking at what I have, what I buy, and why I seem to need this hundred and fifty year old man-made concoction more than my mother's fried chicken.