February 5, 2012

The One about Two

Two points that is. First, we got this lettuce in our Bread Riot basket three weeks ago. The lettuce is STILL extra crunchy and fresh (these photos were take on 2/3 and the baskets were 1/14...WOW!). I'm not sure if that is indicative of how fresh picked it was, or how it was kept. 

Which was in this plastic container, second. It wasn't all "misted" by grocery store sprinkler systems, and it was in an airtight package. 

Looks like a regular take out box, doesn't it? 

Most household recycling programs don't allow number 7 plastics. Do you know what the numbers in the little recycle symbol mean? (via http://www.guvswd.org/symbols)

#1 - Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) or (PET). Polyester is its nickname.
Used for: soft drink and water bottles, beer bottles, mouthwash bottles, peanut butter and salad dressing containers, ovenable film, ovenable pre-prepared food trays.
Recycled into: Polar fleece clothing, fiber, tote bags, bottles, clothing, furniture, carpet.

#2 - High Density Polyethylene (HDPE).
Used for: milk, water and juice containers, trash and retail bags, liquid detergent bottles, yogurt and margarine tubs, cereal box liners.
Recycled into: liquid laundry detergent containers, drainage pipe, oil bottles, recycling bins, benches, pens, doghouses, vitamin bottles, floor tile, picnic tables, lumber, mailbox posts, fencing.

#3 - Vinyl (Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC)
Used for: Clear food packaging, shampoo bottles, medical tubing, wire and cable insulation. There has been increasing concern over the potential toxicity of PVC, watch the media for developments.

#4 - Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE)
Used for: Bread bags, frozen food bags, squeezable bottles (e.g. honey, mustard).

#5 - Polypropylene (PP)
Used for: Ketchup bottles, yogurt containers and margarine tubs, medicine bottles

#6 - Polystyrene (PS)
Used for: Compact disc jackets, food service applications, grocery store meat trays, egg cartons, aspirin bottles, cups, plates.

#7 - Other: Use of this code indicates that the package in question is made with a resin other than the six listed above, or is made of more than one resin used in combination.

Other, huh? Well good thing this box had more information describing itself. 

PLA stands for Poly Lactic Acid and is the chemical name of a plastic made from corn, an annually renewable resource. The look and act just like regular take out boxes, but at the end of use, PLA based products can be recycled or composted under commercial composting conditions 90% within 60 days and the balance within 90 days. 

I'm not sure how much regular clam shell containers cost food service professionals, but I found cases of 250 PLAstic clam shells for $65. That seems like a very reasonable cost to avoid petroleum based plastics. 

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