Tag Archives: earth friendly shopping

PLA I am whatever I say I am

So what exactly is PLA?


PLA also known as  Polylactic acid or polylactide (PLA) which is a thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch in the United States, tapioca products (roots, chips or starch mostly in Asia) or sugarcanes (in the rest of world).

In the U.S  a majority of PLA is made with genetically modified corn (Nature Works is the largest provider of genetically modified cornstarch in the world.) According to Elizabeth Royte, in Smithsonian, “PLA may well break down into its constituent parts (carbon dioxide and water) within 3 months in a controlled composting environment, that is, an industrial composting facility heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and fed a steady diet of digestive microbes. But it will take far longer in a compost bin, or in a landfill packed so tightly that no light and little oxygen are available to assist in the process. Indeed, analysts estimate that a PLA bottle could take anywhere from 100 to 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill.”

Let’s get one thing straight PLA is not compostable in home compost, go ahead and try…you will be waiting a very long time and it still might not happen. PLA is ASTM 6400 which means a product can be considered compostable if a product has undergone 60% biodegradation within 180 days; the standard is 15-18 weeks at a majority of industrial compost facilities. So these industrial compost facilities, where are they? According to this site in the United States there are 422 composting facilities registered, what each facility is capable of composting I am unsure, you would have to contact the particular facility you are interested in.

So if you buy PLA products, such as PLA single use eating utensils and you do not have access to an industrial compost or you just think it will be okay to throw the fork, spoon or knife in the garbage because it seems natural enough, unfortunately it is not. That fork, spoon, or knife could take hundreds of years to decompose. If you do not plan to send your single use PLA purchases to an industrial compost, I do not see how it would be a rational investment. Not only because PLA utensils will sit in a landfill forever but because they are not very durable, they bend and break very easily and can become droopy if placed in heat. So if you’re not planning on disposing  of PLA properly what have you accomplished?  If you are one of those people who does not have access to an industrial compost or really just do not have time to think about it and prefer quality products, try purchasing biodegradable & recyclable plastic products , for example ENSO plastics.

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Reusable Shopping Bags Not Risk Free

The newest fad: The Reusable bag .

Reusable bags are being greatly pushed against the single use plastic bag and people seem to be latching on to the concept. It sounds like a good enough idea, and with all the design options you can really expressive yourself, but is the reusable bag really risk free? Just like many new products there may be some drawbacks that weren’t discovered before becomingso popular and “savior-esque.” The Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University conducted a study called the Assessment of the Potential for Cross Contamination of Food Products by Reusable Shopping Bags. Now I am going to brief you on the results of this study!

So what is “Cross contamination” ?

Cross contamination occurs when disease-causing microorganisms are transferred from one food to another.

The assessment was divided into 3 Phases

1. Determine the occurrence of bacteria and bacteria of health concern in reusable shopping bags
2. Determine the potential for microbial cross-contamination in reusable shopping bags
3. Evaluate and recommend the washing/bleaching procedures necessary to decontaminate reusable shopping bags

They started off by collecting bags from consumers entering grocery stores in the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles and Tucson, Arizona. 84 bags total were collected, 25 from LA, 25 from San Francisco and 34 from Tucson. All but 4 of these bags were woven polypropylene (a little softer than polyester which is what a typical plastic bottle is made out of.) Each bag owner was interviewed on bag usage, storage, and cleaning procedures. (4 unused reusable bags were also purchased and tested)


And the Results are in…

Large numbers of bacteria were found in all but 1 bag & coliform bacteria in half.

E-Coli was identified in 12% of the bags & a wide range of enteric bacteria & pathogens.

After meat juices were added to bags & stored in car s for 2 hours, bacteria increased 10-fold.



How to Clean your bags?

Hand or machine washing was found to reduce the bacteria in bags by >99.9%. So if you clean your bag after every separate use, you should be good! (Don’t forget to think of the water and energy that adds up over time)


What were the bag owners habits?

Cleaned bag at home?
97% No
3% Yes

Days bags were used in a Week?
49% 1 day
22% 2 days
18% 3 days
3% 4 days
2% 5 days
3% 6 days
3% 7 days

Bag used Soley for Groceries?
70% Yes
30% No

Other uses of Bag?
57% Other Shopping
19% Clothes
10% Books
9% Snacks
5% Biking Supplies

Separate Bags for Meats & Vegetables?
75% No
25% Yes

Transport in Car?
55% Trunk
45% Backseat

Stored at home?
55% Yes
45% No


As you are learning these bags get pretty filthy and are brought back into stores, which is proven to be not at all sanitary. So if reusable bag users do not make the continuous effort to keep their bags clean maybe this isn’t  the cleanest solution to the single-use plastic bag problem, why not explore another option like using Earth friendly  biodegradable and recyclable plastic instead, Like ENSO?

Take a few min to read the rest of the assessment it’s definitely worth your time!



The Diaper Guide: Disposable, Cloth, Biodegradable or the G-Diaper?

I have seen many articles on the internet about all these different diaper options and it can get very confusing. Whether you are exploring your options for environmental reasons, financial, health concerns, or just want the cutest diapers for your baby you will find the unbiased information you deserve, here.


The Eco Side of Each Diaper

  • disposable baby diaperDisposable diapers can take 500+ years to biodegrade in a landfill. In 2-3 years 1 child can go through 8000-10000 disposable diapers.




  • cloth diaperCloth Diapers, depending on the company you get them from can be designed with earth friendly materials.  Cloth diapers are made to be reused and that is a good thing because it results in less waste. Of course the water and energy used to clean the diapers is a downside of cloth diapers. However there are many cloth diaper washing services specifically created to clean these diapers as efficiently as possible.



  • g diaper light blueG-Diapers were designed with the cradle to cradle concept meaning that what goes into the product will return to the eco system in a beneficial or neutral way. Waste then becomes a resource. Gdiapers have 2 options, 100% Biodegradable refills or reusable cloths. With the refills you can place them in a home compost (urine only refills), toss, or flush the biodegradable refills (break down in 50-150 days. The Gpants themselves are reusable and can last as long as you want them too, just like cloth diapers.


  • BiodNatures babycare biodegradable compostable diaperegradable diapers are disposable diapers made with PLA plastic. The name biodegradable makes it seem like you can throw them in the trash and they will biodegrade in a landfill but because of the lack of oxygen, this would take a very long time to occur. Biodegradable diapers are compostable in industrial compost, so if you unable to send these diapers to a industrial compost, you are only getting other benefits that the diapers may offer depending on the brand such as (lack of chemical(s) used)


Comparing the prices

  • Disposable diapers can run from 1,500 – 3,000 dollars depending on the brand and how long your child will wear the diapers.
  • Cloth diapers can run from 700 – 1,900+ dollars (depending on style, this is including laundry costs) (ex. 6 reusable inserts can run at $30) After doing much research, lots of people that use cloth diapers have commented about needed to use disposables for trips and at night time because of potential accidents, this is something to keep in mind in costs.
  • G-Diapers, at Target you can get refill inserts for $52/128 inserts.Also at Target you can get 6 reusable Gpants for 80 dollars. On the Gdiaper website they have all of their products listed with prices.
  • Biodegradable disposable Diapers will run you the same costs of regular disposable diapers, 1,500-3,000 dollars, depending on how long your child will wear the diapers and what brand you choose.


Health Effects

  • Disposable diapers are made with plastic and can contribute to diaper rash and irritation. These diapers also keep babies from feeling wetness so it can take longer for a child to understand what is happening when they are using the bathroom. It has been shown that it can take longer for children brought up on disposable diapers to be potty trained, but of course situations vary  and so do children.
  • Cloth diapers, depending on how they are washed can also cause irritation, but it is usually because of the soap that is used in cleansing. These diapers can contribute to children becoming potty-trained sooner because they are much more breathable and this allows a child feel wetness. Bumgenius is a popular stop for cloth diapers made with earth friendly materials that are less likely to irritate your childs skin.
  • Biodegradable diapers. The most popular, Natures baby care diapers are 100% chlorine free, 100% GM.
  • G-Diapers Biodegradable gRefills are made of a water-resistant breathable outer material made of all natural fiber. The inner material is an elemental chlorine free tree-farmed fluff pulp and Super Absorbing Polyacrylate, an absorbent core that keeps bottoms dry. gRefills  and 100% biodegradable. gPants are made out of cotton, with a hint of elastene for stretch. gPant pouches are made of breathable polyurethane-coated nylon, similar to what’s used in sports clothing. Pouches are breathable which means babies bottoms stay cool and diaper rash is kept at bay.gCloth inserts are made from four layers of soft microfleece and hemp/cotton. There should be little to know irritation with these diapers.

Ease of Use?

  • Disposable diapers are quick and easy. Take one off, put one on, throw the used one away and you’re done. They are good for night time wear and travel.
  • Cloth Diapers, depending on which system you use can be simple or take a few more steps. If you have a cleaning service, it takes some steps out for you, if not you need to make sure that you have a special spot for dirty cloths and that you clean them within a day or two. If you are using refills that can be thrown away/flushes/composted you just have to focus on keeping the shell of the diaper clean. If you have a system going they can work for night time and travel but it will require more attention than a single use diaper.
  • Biodegradable diapers are just like disposables, quick and easy. Take one off, put one on, throw the used one away and you’re done. They are good for night time wear and travel.
  • G-diapers , if you are using disposable refills are quite easy, same number of steps as using a disposable. If the gpant gets wet of course you will need to place it in a bin to be cleaned and use a fresh one. If you are using the reusable cloths you will need to make sure they are cleaned within a day or two.If you hiring a cleaning service for cloths gdiapers are very simple, if you use refills, they are still very simple. These diapers have a lot of leak free structure so they are ok for night time wear and traveling.




Natures Babycare