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MarineScapeRenewed hope:  BIODEGRADABLE PRODUCTS

Most of us wouldn't think of throwing any kind of litter into the natural environment.  Yet it is estimated that 6.4 million tons of litter finds its way into marine environments annually.  Litter discarded in our city streets and parks can travel through storm water systems to our streams, lakes, bays and oceans. 

 

Marine environments are especially susceptible to the impacts of plastic litter which entangle, suffocate or poison hundreds of thousands of birds and other marine life yearly.  Plastic shopping bags, 6-pack rings, plastic bottles, polystyrene foam containers, disposable cutlery,  even plastic toys, all pollute our waterways and can take hundreds of years to break down.

 

Now there's hope.  Recent years have seen the emergence of a variety of biodegradable "plastic," and bagasse, alternative food service products made from natural, plant-based materials.  For example, PLA which stands for polylactic acid is made from yellow corn.  PLA looks just like clear plastic but will biodegrade in about 50 days in the environment.  PLA products include cups, lids, food containers, paper cup liners and disposable cutlery. 

 

Of course we wouldn't throw any litter into the environment, but for the litter that does escape, biodegradables now offer the earth-friendly advantage of a short and non-toxic life cycle.

 
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  New biodegradable
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Two Waterfront Towns move to

Ban

Plastic Shopping Bags

   

San Francisco city leaders approved a ban on plastic grocery bags after weeks of lobbying on both sides from environmentalists and a supermarket trade group.

The law, passed by a 10-1 vote, requires large markets and drug stores to give customers only a choice among bags made of paper that can be recycled, plastic that breaks down easily enough to be made into compost, or reusable cloth.
 

July 10, 2007 - An Annapolis city council member formally introduced legislation that would outlaw the use of plastic bags in all retail establishments within the city limits.  The aim of the bill is to protect the environment, said Alderman Samuel E. Shropshire, the bill's sponsor.
 

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