June 1, 2008
- Orange Coast Voice, June 2008, page 15
- Southern Sierran, June 2009 as ‘Thinking Outside the Dump: Zero Waste’
- Fullerton Observer, Oct. 2009, page 11, as ‘Zero Waste: Thinking Outside the Dump’
Let’s Get Out of This Dump
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D .
Our throw-away habits are making a dump out of our world.
A fond memory from my childhood is of visiting the neighborhood “dump” with my dad to drop off whatever refuse, like old tires, we could not burn in our backyard incinerator.
Nowadays, the local dump has been supplanted by centralized landfills, and major restrictions have been placed on backyard incineration. Our waste stream has been transformed also since the introduction of petroleum-based plastics, single-use disposables, and packaging excess. Too, products once designed for durability and repair have been replaced with flimsier versions intended to be tossed and replaced.
In short, we have become a throw away society. Read the rest of this entry »
February 1, 2008
Appeared in Orange Coast Voice newspaper February 2008, page 11
The Polystyrene Ban Wagon
Laguna Beach will require biodegradable eating utensils
by Sarah S. Mosko Ph.D.
Foam cups and other food containers made from polystyrene are outlawed in Laguna, a first in Orange County.
“To-go” orders in Laguna Beach soon will have a new look because of a city ordinance passed last month prohibiting restaurants from using any polystyrene (PS) for food service cups and containers . . . an Orange County first.
Polystyrene (PS) is most recognizable in its foamed form (expanded polystyrene or EPS) as hot cups, food clamshells or packaging materials, although non-expanded PS is also made into clear plastic food containers. Restaurants have until July to come up with replacements, e.g. paperboard or a plastic that is biodegradable or easier to recycle.
The Laguna Beach regulation follows on the heels of similar bans enacted recently in Santa Monica, Calabasas, and Malibu and applies to private food vendors as well as city-sponsored events and Read the rest of this entry »
March 1, 2007
Appeared in San Fernando Valley Sierra Club Chapter newsletter, Mar-Apr 2007
Related article: Paper Cups Go Green.
All That Shines Is Not Gold
(#11 of the Plastic Plague Series)
by Sarah S. Mosko, Ph.D.
If your paper cup has a plastic lining, it will end up in the landfill.
Did you ever notice the shiny lining on the inside of those paper cups designed for hot beverages . . the ones you get at your favorite specialty coffee store? Although the lining’s purpose is noble (prevents the liquid from seeping through the paper), its presence is the very reason those paper cups all end up in landfills.
Manufacturers tell me the lining is typically a polyethylene resin or some other petroleum-based emulsion. As such, it is a contaminant that prevents recycling as a paper item, and like petroleum-based plastics, it doesn’t biodegrade so is not appropriate for composting.
Such resins also coat milk cartons and many paper picnic products, thus preventing you from putting them in your curbside recycling bin or your backyard compost.
Read the rest of this entry »