Friday, February 26, 2010

Looking Ahead: compostable food packaging from sugar

London researchers have come up with a new sugar-based polymer that they say could make food packaging and other disposable plastic items suitable for being composted at home along with the usual veggie peelings and other organic waste.

This would be huge. Right now, most "compostable" plastics have to be sent to industrial-size facilities. And they're often made from food crops such as corn, sugar beets and potatoes, creating ethical concerns in a world where many poor people go hungry and using food stocks for plastics might drive up prices.

The degradable polymer is made from sugars known as "lignocellulosic biomass," which come from fast-growing trees and grasses, or renewable biomass from agricultural or food waste, according to a press release from Imperial College London, where the team of engineering and physical sciences researchers are based.

Lead researcher Charlotte Williams says significant research is going into developing greener plastics -- not only for environmental reasons, but also because of economic and supply considerations. Around 7% of worldwide oil and gas resources are consumed in plastics manufacture, with worldwide production exceeding 150 million tons per year. Almost 99% of plastics are formed from fossil fuels, according to the press release.

For the plastic to be useful it had to be manufactured in large volumes and by produced in a low-energy, low-water process, Williams says. In contrast, the leading biorenewable plastic, polylactide, is formed in a high energy process requiring large volumes of water. In addition, when it reaches the end of its life polylactide must be degraded in a high-temperature industrial facility.

The new polymer's oxygen-rich sugars allow it to absorb water and degrade to harmless products – meaning it can be tossed on the home compost heap and used to feed the garden.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Sierra Club writes about Philly Compost

Philly Compost gets national press! The Night Kitchen Bakery, Earth Bread and Brewery and The Wine Thief are proud customers!

"Three days a week, M. Lee Meinicke, cofounder of Philly Compost, takes her truck on a circuit of Philadelphia restaurants, caterers, and markets, filling 20-gallon bins with plate scrapings, aging produce, chicken bones, food-stained napkins, and other discarded organic matter. The waste will be served up as dinner to Meinicke's stable of red wigglers and night crawlers, emerging on the other end as compost that she will sell for $15 per four-gallon bin. She turns straw into gold, and participating businesses help fight climate change: "What hooks them is the global-warming issue," she says."
Read the entire article at

Thursday, February 18, 2010

GRID magazine has a new Blog!!

GRID, Philadelphia's premier magazine on all things sustainable, has a new Blog! And it is as stylish and interesting as their free publication. Check it out:
The Griddle" is heating up! Check out Grid's spankin' new blog at

Monday, February 15, 2010

SPIN Farming Method

Make sure you save your appetite for the Gardening's new SPIN workshop at Mugshots. Roxanne Christensen co-author of the SPIN-Farming Method will offer tips for taking home gardening to the next level! Tuesday 2/23 in Fairmount 6:30pm-8:30pm.

  • Come hungry, and learn how you can take your home garden to the next level from the co-author of the revolutionary sub-acre SPIN-Farming method. Roxanne Christensen will show you how to achieve levels of productivity and professionalism that go far beyond current home gardening practices. You’ll see how the commercial techniques of the SPIN-Farming system can be transferred to your home garden to help you produce a steady and dependable supply of vegetables that have all the quality of farm-grown, and all the convenience of store-bought. You’ll learn the importance of creating a complete end-to-end food production system that emphasizes harvesting and distribution among family, friends or neighbors.

    Join other pioneering food gardeners throughout Fairmount to see how you can use SPIN-Gardening make local food even more local by creating a continuum of healthy food production that encompasses the backyard garden, neighborhood community plot and sub-acre commercial farming. All it requires is a modest investment and a radically different approach to gardening!

  • Monday, February 8, 2010

    Urban Ag Workshops

    Saturday, February 6, 2010

    GRINCH on Facebook

    Join the GRINCH (GReenINChestnutHill) Facebook Fan page for updates on events in your community!

    Another WEIRD WASTE DAY!!

    Put Saturday April 10th on your calender for another GRINCH Weird Waste Day event! Bring your electronic waste like computers, cell phones, key boards etc. and GRINCH will dispose of it responsibly for 40 cents per pound. The money collected pays for the company that hauls it away, reuses it and recycles it responsibly.
    When: Saturday April 10, 2010
    Where: The West Highland Ave. parking lot next to Valley Green Bank in Chestnut Hill
    Time: 1pm-4pm