We never eat 27 percent of the food that exists on the shelves in grocery stores or that is served in restaurants and kitchens. There is one way to save the fate of wasted food ending up in landfills. You’ve all heard of it, but probably never tried it: composting.
People who do compost know that it smells terrible and requires a host of bacteria, earthworms, and fruit flies to turn into soil—which is why apartment and city dwellers typically avoid the practice. But now those problems may be eliminated. The San Francisco-based company NatureMill is selling a composting “robot” to make composting hassle-free, and the machine might soon become an American household mainstay.
All you have to do is plug it in, and the robot does all the work. The machine can chomp on up to 5 pounds of food a day— turning dinner leftovers into soil in less than two weeks.
As if there isn’t enough economic incentive to dispense with credit cards these days, a new card issued by Discover Financial Services [ed. note: no relation to DISCOVER, though they own Discover.com] now adds an environmental perk as well.
A new biodegradable credit card, released in December, will break down when exposed to microorganisms into carbon dioxide, water, and a mild salt. The New York Times reports that the card is made of biodegradable polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, and bears the same durability as a traditional plastic credit card. Yet it will decompose in a microorganism-filled environment, which the company says can be just about anywhere, including water, soil, a compost heap, or even a landfill, because the microbes operate anaerobically.
With 1.5 billion credit cards in use in the U.S. as of 2006, the ability to decompose will surely ease the burden on landfills, which have their fair share of other plastic to deal with. The trick behind the card is a secret that BIOPVC, the company that created it, will not give up, but they say no toxic PVC remains once the microbes break down the plastic. A Columbia University professor took a stab at how the process works, and said it can be activated by coating PVC with a material that attracts fungi, or alternatively one that attracts rather than repels water, which contains microbes that will then break down the PVC. Read More