Dis­sect­ing the lingo: plas­tic bags and pack­ag­ing

Dish - - MAKE THE CUT -

Th­ese days we’re pay­ing much more at­ten­tion to our dis­pos­able pack­ag­ing – but how do we know what’s what?

DEGRADABLE

the plas­tic can be bro­ken down, but only into smaller pieces which stay in our soil and wa­ter sys­tems.

BIODEGRAD­ABLE

when ex­posed to liv­ing or­gan­isms, this type of plas­tic has the abil­ity to break down over time into mol­e­cules; the catch is that in New Zealand there’s no time limit on how long this will take and no rules sur­round­ing toxic waste that may be left be­hind.

COM­POSTABLE

this is de­signed to break down – in a far shorter time­frame than biodegrad­able pack­ag­ing – into a sub­stance that sup­ports plant mat­ter. Some brands such as Bo­s­tock Broth­ers are cre­at­ing home com­postable pack­ag­ing which can be bro­ken down in four to six months in a well looked af­ter home com­post (see Side Dishes, page 14).

SO WHAT TO DO?

Try to avoid sin­gle-use pack­ag­ing, take a re­us­able con­tainer for take­aways, carry a keep-cup for cof­fee, keep cut­lery and re­us­able chop­sticks in your glove box and use cloth bags for pro­duce and gro­ceries.

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