Apr
06
2011

But Does it Biodegrade?

My friend Rebecca has been rumored to throw a fine “But Does it Taste Good?” party, wherein she and others seek out cookbooks from days of yore (Velveeta Nutburgers anyone?)Velveeta "Cheese": Springboard for the culinary arts.
Velveeta "Cheese": Springboard for the culinary arts.Courtesy PeRshGo
and test out seemingly horrific recipes that have no other possibility than somehow tasting good because they’re 1) tested and considered good enough to be printed in a book; and 2) the product of combined ingredients so repugnant that only a kitchen savant would ever consider putting such nasty, curdle-prone things together to get something so freakishly magnificent.

So when I read this article, Building a 'Nano-Brick' Wall Around Fresh Food, and envisioned several-weeks-old produce in the desert, I wondered: 1) But does it taste good? (the food; not the packaging), and 2) But does it biodegrade? (the packaging; not the food).

Now, let it be known to the universe: I hate plastic. I know, I know it’s been so helpful to our lives on so many levels – and yes, I do use it – but honestly, one viewing of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (you know, that that great trash mass twice the size of Texas floating out in the Pacific Ocean?), and it’s likely you, too, will clamor for any kind of plastic alternative whenever possible. So when I read about potential awesomeness like this new nano-clay-based packaging, I can’t help but get a little excited. Albatross Chick: This Laysan Albatross chick has been accidentally fed plastic by its parents and died as a result.
Albatross Chick: This Laysan Albatross chick has been accidentally fed plastic by its parents and died as a result.Courtesy Duncan Wright

And then my little shoulder-side Nano Skeptic poofs into existence and starts asking more questions. Questions that are beyond my ability to scientifically answer. You see, the creators tout this stuff as being a veritable fortress against the evils of oxygen - chastity belt inside a Safe Room inside a maximum-security prison, if you will. So if it’s that strong, that secure against oxygen, does that mean it’s less likely to biodegrade? Are we potentially replacing plastic with something even worse? Are we providing a much-needed, valuable service to those who are hungry (YAY!) to the long-term detriment of the planet (BOO!)? Does the benefit outweigh the risk?

And honestly, it’s questions like these that make me want to chuck it all and go live in a treehouse for the rest of my days.

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Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Shana's picture
Shana says:

Velveeta Nutburgers sound so nasty.

I wonder where the nano materials would end up as the packaging degrades, too. Or whether the materials are endocrine disruptors. So many considerations...

posted on Wed, 04/06/2011 - 3:16pm

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