Plastic is everywhere. It packages our food, it makes the utensils we use to cook our food, it makes the plates we eat our food on. It’s inescapable. So what’s an alternative?

While plastic is made from petroleum and natural gas, bioplastics are made from renewable biomass, including sources such as animal fats and cornstarch. The idea of these bioplastics is not biodegradability (not all bioplastics biodegrade, although some do) but to create items from sustainable resources, so that we can continue to make them even when fossil fuels run out. Bioplastics tend to require less fossil fuel in production, and usually introduce fewer greenhouse emissions when biodegrading.

While these are all good things – renewable resources, less emissions, etc. – we are still relying on fossil fuels. We use them to power farm machinery, to produce fertilizers, to transport the crops to a factory, and even to craft them into bioplastics. The use of fossil fuels has become so ingrained in our society that one green invention still relies heavily on a system that is much less green. But it’s a small step, and a start, and sometimes it takes these small steps to get the ball rolling.



Ohio’s Trash: Marion Aiming for Zero Waste

In July 2013, the Ohio State University at Marion started a program to attempt to achieve zero waste. They created a partnership between their campus, Marion Technical College, Marion Correctional Institution Recycling Processing Center, and Sims Brothers Recycling. Sims Brothers collects solid waste and sorts out anything that can be recycled. Other waste is composted.

The goal was to recycle or compost 90% of the campus’ waste. By September, they were already diverting 82% of waste from landfills. Their program keeps 90 tons of waste from landfills each year, and saves $5100 per year for the campus.


How Can You Reduce Your Waste?

  • Use reusable water bottles and grocery bags.
  • Use reusable rags instead of paper towels, and cloths or bandanas instead of napkins.
  • Use reusable containers instead of Ziplocs.
  • Compost.
  • Collect shower water while it’s heating up, and use it for watering plants.
  • Buy in bulk to use less packaging.
  • Print double-sided.
  • Sign up for electronic bills.
  • Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.