Plastic waste horror is world wide ,plastic armageddon has actually arrived in my view but lets be positive ,as a scientist I feel we should all actually try to do something to encourage and also monitor the good efforts many smaller and larger businesses are making to produce and use recyclable consumer materials such as this recyclable takeaway coffee mug that my hot drink arrived in this summer .The gardening industry ( The Horticultural Trades Association) in the UK is making a great effort to make plant pots more recyclable .
Here are some photos Ive taken simply of two recyclable coffee mugs I purchased at a typical sea side ( North Cornwall UK cafe in Widemouth Bay nr Bude) .This seaside cafe is one of probably many small businesses that are making the effort to contribute to reduce plastic pollution thats literally threatening to engulf us all over the world judging from the grim world news video reports. Many of us have seen the damage to all marine life especially when plastic is breaking down into damaging minute particles .!!.Genuine recyclable material must completely break down in U Nations monitoring view .
I buried the two cups in my garden 6 weeks ago and simply pulled back the soil after about 6 weeks .Guess what I found .Have a look a the photographic evidence below .
What will remain after 12 and 18 weeks ?
Your comments are welcome please by e mail on CONTACT or easier on the Facebook page .These are the the photos taken of the recyclable mugs but what about the protective lids !? I think the main mug material will be possibly a natural polymer such as cellulose or a potato -starch type or even bamboo is an interesting possibility . I am studying up the latest natural and non natural materials, however the two lids looked and felt like normal semi rigid polythene which takes a lot lot longer to deteriorate .
Recently this year The National Trust has used a potato starch wrapping to deliver members magazine and it looked very good to me as a subscriber . I say well done ,a great effort to have tried that out. I will ask it its likely to work out as a permanent wrapping .
See Editors note
As a Polymer science person who once specialised after graduating in Polymer technology and engineering and chemistry I hope this brief non -scientific experiment inspires us all in our society to put considerable pressure to make and buy recyclable materials. I think this little experiment shows a very simple but encouraging and interesting result of what can be achieved as the mug had virtually rotted away.!
JAN 2019 UPDATE .
As previously seen the recyclable cups have completely rotted away ,so a very successful selection of paper -cellulose type of material .However the lids made of rigid but slightly flexible polythene will take in my judgment three years to just break up into smaller pieces .Can we select a more appropriate recyclable material for the coffe cup lid .!!??
Amswers comments please on Facebook or e mail on CONTACT page Header
More on recycling in the book Science for the Garden chapter Chapter 4 Plants for Industry and also A growing debate Chapter 12
Tony Arnold MCIHort Editor