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Waste

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MatC
50276.  Fri Feb 10, 2006 11:52 am Reply with quote

I’m not quite sure what the question is, but this seems pleasingly counter-intuitive.

In a town newspaper recently, the “waste management officer” of Mendip District Council was responding to readers’ accusations that the reason the council provided kerbside collections of food waste, but not of plastic, was because food waste is heavier and therefore more quickly adds up to the tonnage demanded by Whitehall and Brussels targets.

Not so, says the man: “The fact is that biodegradable waste, if landfilled, causes a far greater environmental impact than plastic. I take the point that plastic does not rot down and therefore fills up landfill sites, but it is because it is inert that it causes minimal environmental problems compared with biodegradable waste. Biodegradable waste in landfills accounts for up to eight per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions as well as producing leachate, which needs to be treated, and if it enters water systems it can kill aquatic life and poses a very real hazard to public health.”

Source: Frome & Somerset Standard, 2 February 2006.

So, plastic waste is less harmful than food waste precisely because it doesn’t biodegrade - wouldn't you have assumed it was the other way around?

 
bobwilson
406039.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:08 pm Reply with quote

Yet another interesting post that deserves a resurrection

 
Amie
406254.  Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:46 am Reply with quote

I would have thought it was the other way around because of the devastating effect that plastic bags have on the environment.

Look at the large patch of floating plastic on the Pacific,

Quote:
A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse.

http://tinyurl.com/2w5hkg

However, I can see why the food waste would be more harmful, especially in third world countries where it is just left.

Quote:
In particular, organic domestic waste poses a serious threat, since they ferment, creating conditions favourable to the survival and growth of microbial pathogens. Direct handling of solid waste can result in various types of infectious and chronic diseases with the waste workers and the rag pickers being the most vulnerable.

http://tinyurl.com/3wtrlh

And it does release carbon dioxide and methane.

Quote:
Wrap revealed before Christmas that about 6.7 million tonnes of food a year is dumped in bins. This represents a third of all food bought for consumption at home and is worth a total of £8 billion, or an average £400 for every household.

However, by preventing this scale of food waste about 15 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year would be saved, the equivalent of taking one in five cars off the roads.

http://tinyurl.com/4hq459

After a few calculations I came to the conclusion that: per kg of food waste, 2.24kg of carbon dioxide is produced compared to 6kg being produced by per kg of plastic (plastic being specifically poyethylene).

Although it does seem a marked difference, the carbon dioxide produced by the plastic is only that released in the production process. The carbon dioxide figure for the food waste is only that is released as it decomposes.
So the carbon dioxide released in the processing of the food items isn't accounted for.

With what I've read I think that food waste is more harmful is terms of carbon emissions, however, I can see that this problem would occur more in richer countries due to people having the luxury of throwing food away and the ability to buy more.
However, plastic bags and plastic in general seems to cause more harm on the environment globally, than food waste does.

Quote:
So, plastic waste is less harmful than food waste precisely because it doesn’t biodegrade - wouldn't you have assumed it was the other way around?


It seems fair to conclude that the above is true but only for landfills.

Apologies for the ramble :)

 
jakamneziak
406283.  Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:10 am Reply with quote

All i know is that people double bag despite the encouragement to reuse single bags because the bags are bloody crap. We end up with a poor magic trick. You put the stuff in the bag, lift the bag and there's your food now dented and pulverised left on the bloody counter. Now tell me why we have carrier bags in the first place when they are so useless, i resort to using my old army supply bag for shopping. Not only is it better than carrier bags, it also allows me to walk home without needing a car and it doesn't put strain on the wrists, rather on the trapezius, lateral, lumbar and pectoral regions which are more designed for heavy weight carrying/holding than the inferior wrist and weak hands.

 
charmedgirl
439765.  Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:50 am Reply with quote

ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooohhhhhhhh!




Incredible!!!!

 
Moosh
439824.  Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:24 am Reply with quote

jakamneziak wrote:
All i know is that people double bag despite the encouragement to reuse single bags because the bags are bloody crap. We end up with a poor magic trick. You put the stuff in the bag, lift the bag and there's your food now dented and pulverised left on the bloody counter. Now tell me why we have carrier bags in the first place when they are so useless, i resort to using my old army supply bag for shopping. Not only is it better than carrier bags, it also allows me to walk home without needing a car and it doesn't put strain on the wrists, rather on the trapezius, lateral, lumbar and pectoral regions which are more designed for heavy weight carrying/holding than the inferior wrist and weak hands.


I don't have a car, so I also use this method, take a camping rucksack with me and I can walk home with a load of shopping easily, and don't use any carrier bags.

 
juliaxyz
560332.  Wed May 27, 2009 6:04 am Reply with quote

How does this magic trick work? The one were someone steps into a box, they saw them into three parts, then move the middle part, then put it back together???
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