Nottinghamshire Indymedia



> UK Indymedia
> Global Indymedia

> Guidelines
> Chatroom
> About Us
> Security

> Projects
> On Ya Mobile
> Local Weather

Support Us

We are an all volunteer collective and receive no regular funding. Please consider donating.

Local Events

This events wire is no longer being updated. Please use the new site to publicise events.

More local events on Veggies/Sumac Diary

Freedom of Information

Search archives


Animal Liberation
Climate Chaos
Energy Crisis
Free Spaces
Ocean Defence
Other Press
Social Struggles
Terror War
Workers' Movements


South Coast

Other UK IMCs
Bristol/South West
Northern Indymedia


satellite tv


estrecho / madiaq
la plana
northern england
nottingham imc
united kingdom

Latin America
chile sur
cmi brasil
cmi sucre
puerto rico


South Asia

United States
hudson mohawk
kansas city
minneapolis/st. paul
new hampshire
new jersey
new mexico
new orleans
north carolina
north texas
rogue valley
saint louis
san diego
san francisco
san francisco bay area
santa barbara
santa cruz, ca
tampa bay
united states
western mass

West Asia


fbi/legal updates
mailing lists
process & imc docs

Ban all non-biodegradable packaging

Liz | 18.03.2006 22:37 | Analysis | Ecology

producer pays? – well no actually Here's the thing thing. I get really pissed of when on the one hand as individual I am told recycle recycle and switch off my lights and don't have baths (blah blah like I need telling........) whilst at the same time corporations are left alone to light and heat corporate building 24/7, water companies make massive profits for shareholders while water pours out of unrepaired mains pipes and manufacturers of stuff, supermarkets and fast food chains produce mountains of unnecessary packaging loads of which cannot be recycled and is destined for landfill or incineration. We pay for the privilege of having a recycling collection service (if we are lucky) or we pay the financial, health and environmental costs of it all being chucked into and landfill or incineration. All to get rid of rubbish we don't need or want in the first place. Now that doesn't seem right.

Lip service is paid to making the corporate world accountable for it's environmentally destructive behaviours by such things as the The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005 but, as with all things, they are largely left alone to continue their environmentally destructive ways because heaven portend that anything should get in the way of their profits. So it's off to hell in hand basket on the downward spiral to environmental disaster. They should be made to take responsibly and pay for all this bloody waste and not just pass that responsibilities onto us. This is being taked about as “producer responsibility” and it is the latest “big idea” in waste policy. The concept of producer responsibility is based on the principle that producers become responsible for the collection and treatment of their products once they are discarded. The idea behind this concept is that producers will then make better recyclable products which contain less hazardous components and materials. Also the cost of separate collection and recycling will become part of the product-price. Ideally products which are more easily recoverable would then become cheaper then products which are not. Yeah right! Anyway back to the plastic bags.........Countries that have banned or taken action to discourage the use of plastic bags include Australia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and Taiwan. Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, also has banned the bags. The French parliament has begun moves to ban all non-biodegradable packaging from 2010. Plastic bags have been banned in parts of Asia because they have repeatedly been clogging drains. For a corporate media take see: BBC NEWS | BBC NEWS Ireland introduced a levy of 10p on bag one sold. This has reduced the number sent to landfill and means they account for just 0.22 per cent of all litter - rather than five per cent previously. It has also resulted in a more widespread use of readily recyclable paper bags For Update see Every year, an estimated 17½ billion plastic bags are given away by supermarkets. This is equivalent to over 290 bags for every person in the UK. See also: Most of them go straight to landfill and a very small percentage of plastic bags are actually recycled. A reduction in our use of plastic bags is essential in solving the environmental problems stemming from them. Municipal waste treatment in the EU is 49% landfill 18% incineration 33% bin kerbside recovery. Plastic packaging can take between 100 and 400 years to rot away in a landfill site. (some plastics up to 1000 years). There is virtually no market for recycling plastic bags so very few kerbside recyclable bin collections accept plastic bags because they are of little recyclable value. Plastic bags are manufactured from by-products of gas or oil refining, ie a non-renewable resource. The energy consumed in the manufacturing process for one bag, plus the energy content of the bag (the embodied energy) is calculated as : Fuel consumed by driving a car 1 kilometre is equivalent to 8.7 bags; or Fuel consumed by driving a 28 tonne articulated truck 1 kilometre is equivalent to 64.6 bags. About 100,000 whales, seals, turtles and other marine animals are killed by plastic bags each year worldwide, according to Planet Ark, an international environmental group. Some companies - like the Co-op - have started producing bio-degradable plastic bags which can only be a good thing. None is better I say, what's wrong with taking a shopping bag (made from fairtrade organic cotton of course). Why not take all unnecessary packaging off your purchases and leave it in the shop. For years, when buying her daily newspaper my partners mum always used to ostentatiously shake out all the advertising and miscellaneous rubbish out of the paper and leave it in the shop, often to the bewilderment of the people in the shop. Yeah - way to go mum........... Well I could go on.. but I won't..........well not for now anyway.............I'll be back......... You can always come along to the free Art from Recycling workshops at the Sumac Centre 245 Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, Nottingham on 1st and 3rd Sunday where you can decorate your bin, learn Tetrapac Crafts - make your own wallet or purse, or bring colourful plastic bags for weaving. Further Info: has info about fast food packaging has a have a standard letter available for you to download and send to your local supermarket If you are up for some heavy reading see Compendium ACR+ 2006 General Information : Community Recycling Network find out how to set up a local recycling project. Friends of the Earth booklet Recoup Plastics recycling Recycling Appeal Recycles old and unused mobile phones and printer cartridges. Recycle more They have a bank locator, where you can type your postcode and a map of your local recycling banks is displayed. Rethink Rubbish National waste awareness campaign Reuze Comprehensive recycling, reuse and repair website Waste Watch A national organisation that educates, informs and raises awareness on waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Women's Environmental Network


Download this article in pdf format >>
Email this article to someone >>
Submit an addition or make a quick comment on this article >>

Bio-degradable Packaging

19.03.2006 11:38

I completely agree that bio-degradable is better than non-bio-degradable, but that re-usable is far better still.

Bio-degradable packaging is a bit of a double-edged sword. It has the capacity to reduce the build up of persistent waste in landfill, but, if as at present, most bio-degradable waste is sent to landfill, it provides little benefit, as landfill doesn't provide the conditions needed for efficient degradation. As bio-degradable packaging is energy intensive to produce, it can even end up proving counter-productive.

We need to make sure that people aren't able to use bio-degradable packaging as an excuse to continue living wastefully.

Paul Lockett
- Homepage:


19.03.2006 14:25

Yes, I agree, nice article!!! it's a logical thing to ask for, but in the corporate world, only one thing rules, money..

next time you goto a supermarket, notice how many bags you are offered, I even had times where I have refused, and still been given a bag!!!


Where to get cotton carrier bags from?

20.03.2006 17:34

This one has been bugging me for a while - I forget about it from time to time (normally just use my rucksack) but whenever I look, I don't get far.

I would LOVE to buy some reusable cotton carrier bags. Ideally farily lightweight ones (teatowel thickness) that I can fold up and stick in my pocket, not really heavy duty ones.

Everytime I look for these, I get nowhere. I know exactly the kind of bag - one of my old mates from Germany had lots of them - this kind of thing (though I don't think these are organic):

Perhaps I'm just looking in the wrong places, but I'm hardly hopeless with Google, and can't seem to find smaller packs for sale anywhere. Seems like minimum quantity available from anywhere is 250 bags, and I'd like more in the region of 5-10 maximum.

So, where do you get your cotton carrier bags from, because I can't seem to find anywhere in the UK selling smaller quantities? (Maybe it's my aversion to shops - perhaps you can buy them locally and I haven't noticed?)

Bio-degradable bags, reusable "lifetime" plastic bags... still not the answer, and plastic doesn't fold up as well to slip in your pocket (perhaps permanently) like a lightweight cotton bag would. Cotton bags win on ALL counts!

Perhaps a bunch of us could club together and bulk-buy 250 or more with some anti plastic bag slogan and text, and sell them at the Sumac and various events? I'd be happy to do the design work, cost (from checking a few websites) looks like around £1 a bag if we get 500, or slightly more per bag if we only buy 250, and I reckon people would snap 'em up fairly fast, so we wouldn't be out of pocket for long.

A cotton shopping bag co-operative - how about it? I'll do the work (designing, finding a decent supplier of organic cotton bags and so on) if others will help club together and find the money to get it rolling? (Leave comments here if you're interested.)

Dave Defy-ID
mail e-mail:

Great idea Dave

21.03.2006 08:34

Why don't we look into soucing FT cotton or recycled cotton (e.g. old bedsheets) and have a session with the sewing machine one weekend? Perhaps during the re-cycling workshop at the Sumac.
Perhaps someone knows how we could hand print them with our own slogans.


bag making.

21.03.2006 18:44

Yes I agree. I have 3 of this type of bag and I know that in some parts of Oxford the council actually gives them free to households with the opportunity to purchase more. What a good idea. Someone is making NAIL masks out of recycled hospital sheets so perhaps that is an option. A company called Green fibres does plain bags and also sells organic cotton by the metre.
Next recycling workshop is 2nd April at Sumac I believe.


edible plates and bowls one solution.....

27.03.2006 22:45

Have Your Plates and Eat Them Too
By David Kupfer,

12 years ago at an East German International Folk Festival, as I was handed my vegetarian chili, the vendor told me I could eat the bowl or feed it to a dog. I was astounded and impressed by the innovation. As any outdoorconcert/festival/picnic goer knows, the majority of trash at such events is convenience food related. Americans threw away more than 60 billion cups, 20 billion eating utensils and 15 billion plates last year. While a small percentage were composted (at green festivals), most were destined for landfills or incinerators.

Since then I have sought the obscure edible dishware to help reduce the environmental impact of outdoor festivals and environmental events. Until folks are conditioned to carry their own cups, bowls and cutlery, edible ones seem to be a viable alternative. There are multiple benefits: lower energy use in the manufacturing process, conservation of non-renewable resources, and savings in human effort in dealing with trash – aerobic and anaerobic compostability eases disposal if not eaten.

Ten years ago, Canadian inventor David Aung, an Ontario engineer, developed an inexpensive, edible, totally biodegradable and compostable starch- based material from which he said he could manufacture hot- and cold-liquid cups, bowls, plates, and other rigid containers, packaging filler materials, as well as films of the material for flexible packaging applications. He found he could use any type of readily available cereal grain or bean -- barley, corn, oats, rice, soy, tapioca, or wheat, to name a few -- as his raw material. A cup made of the material held a hot liquid for four or more hours without deteriorating. Aung could color or flavor the material -- he made chocolate, vanilla, and orange-flavored wrappers -- print on it, and even alter the nutritional content of the packaging. His patented technology is novel in four respects: how the grain is formulated the before molding it; the design ofthe mold itself; special modifications to the conventional polymer plastic injection-molding equipment used to shape the containers; and the specific and highly controlled processing parameters of molding process.

Sadly, his product never made it to market. While the inventor planned to commercialize the technology and began manufacturing prototype containers and films, in 1994 his prototype factory in Toronto closed and the project died due to lack of investment and venture capital. "While the technology is outstanding and the potential remains," he told me, "the fast food franchises are not interested in manufacturing and commercializing products, and such an effort would have take seven figures."

* David Aung, Ph/Fax:416-297-5419.

Polish Miller Jerzy Wysocki has come up with organic bran dinner plates which are functional, eco-friendly, and good for your digestion to boot. Mill owners have been wondering what to do with their bran for centuries," Wysocki says. As a byproduct of milling grain for flour, "it's cheap, sometimes you can't even give it away" he says. Several years ago, he developed a patented compressor that uses the 100% wheat bran andcompresses it into all manner of plates, bowls, cups and platters using no additives or preservatives. The dishes are available in a variety of sizes, but only one color – the familiar deep brown of whole wheat bread. Left in the forest after a picnic or thrown into a trash can, the purely organic table wares will dissolve into eco-friendly compost in a matter of days. The plates also have the added benefit of keeping consumers regular should they choose toeat them as a high-fiber, no-calorie desert.

Wysocki complains the product is a hard sell in Poland, where 13 yearsafter communism's demise, consumers are still hungry for western brandnames, including colorful, printed plastic and paper party plates. Production of the organic dishes at his specially adapted mill in Gizycko,in NE Poland, is still small scale, averaging about 100,000 units permonth. Wysocki's bran bowl work well for thicker stews, but tends to gosoggy and limp after holding boiling hot water and other liquids for morethan 12 minutes. According to the miller-turned-inventor, a Britishsupermarket giant has expressed interest in his bran plates, while talkshave also begun with a pizza chain which sees bran platters as a potentialalternative to replace some of the cardboard used in packaging take-away pizzas.


An inventor in Taiwan, Chen Liang-erh has invented edible plates and bowlsmade out of oatmeal. Mr. Chen reportedly spent 10 years and $1.48 milliondeveloping the edible plates. Pale in color, they come in various sizesand are constructed of oatmeal pressed into firm, circular shapes.

According to a story in the Daily China News, Mr. Chen's company plans tomanufacture 6 million of the "tasty plates and bowls" per day during thefirm's first 18 months of operation. The projected production after threeyears is 14 million items per day. The edible are intended as a kind ofdessert. You savor a fine meal, and before you leave the table you pick upthe plate, bite into it, chew it up, and swallow it down. Diners who arenot interested in eating their tableware "can boil the edible plates andbowls into an oatmeal paste to make a nutritious meal for pets or farmanimals."

A firm in Britain called Potatopak has developed plates made from potatostarch. Potato plates are made from starch 100% biodegradable, 100%compostable, non-toxic, and made from natural ingredients. They aresuitable for all fast food applications, being stronger, more rigid, andmore insulative than conventional disposables. Potato Plate Companyproducts have been in limited production since 1998. The products are madefrom100% natural ingredients using a patented process. Wherever possiblethe main ingredient is sourced from waste from potato chip processingplants. The range of products to date includes trays and pots with andwithout lids, burger boxes, cups and bowls. Potatopak is the only companydoing this in the UK; they have licensed out the process to a New Zealandcompany, and they have two competitors, one in the US and the other inGermany. A whole range of products are planned: plates, trays, and Bowls through compression-molding techniques. The products can be manufactured in virtually unlimited shapes and designs. While you can eat a potatoplate, no harm would come to you or any animals or marine life, they arenot designed for this purpose.

* and

Edible wafer/waffle type of cups, bowls, and sheets have been commonly used by food vendors at fairs and expositions in Germany for a decade.They are employed to hold french fries, sausages, cooked mushrooms, pizza slices, crepes, desserts, and ice cream. Their drawbacks: They are highly breakable, have a low water resistance, and a higher price compared toplastic or paper products.


Cobatco, an Illinois firm serving the food service industry, sells a waffle bowl press for the home or business user.


In Austria, Sweden, and Germany, fast food merchant McDonalds now use utensils made out of maize produced by an Italian company, Novamont. An ice cream container made from cookie dough has been developed by McDonalds in Gernmany to replace ones formulated from plastic.


In America, Edibowls(located in Southern California, sells six sizes of bowls wheat-based, baked, crispy taco shell like bowls to cafeterias and institutions. The only problem is because they are so crisp, they need to be served on a plate or similar surface. Ten years ago, Professor Jay-Lin Jane, of Iowa State University, developed edible dinnerware made from corn and soy protein, water, and other ingredients. "It will biodegrade in 90 days and has a roasted nut flavor," Jane said. Her process has yet to be commercialized. Edward and Sons Trading Company is now wholesaling handmade waffle bowls made from 100% organic materials. Matt's Cones is wholesaling ice cream wafer bowls. And Trader Joe's new waffle bowls, renamed bois gaufres due no doubt to their dark chocolate ruffletrims, sell for $2.49 for a box of six.

*,, and

The present is not the potential. It was David Morris, founder of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, who coined the term "carbohydrate economy" 15 years ago. "New technologies, new laws and an increasingly aware public are ushering in a new materials base for the 21st century - plant matter," he wrote.

Transitioning society's production engine toward environmentally benign, renewable materials, where farmers have the potential to process their crops into useful items has enormously positive ramifications. Agricultural crops and residues are bulky, so processing facilities could be located close to the source. There are many opportunities for new and innovative products for a more sustainable future. In the long haul, we all should be carrying around our own individual mess kits. Still, I look forward to the day I can drink some organic beer in an organic hops and barley cup as I serve my child dessert in an organic, blueberry flavored, spirulina enhanced bowl made from some complete protein mix, say local organic beans and rice, by my local farmer's co-op.


mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

I agree too.

28.03.2006 15:55

Yeah, fed up with the bag thing too. Cashiers give me bags for everything, mostly things that are wrapped in plastic anyway. Having worked in a shop, just asking if the person wants a bag can reduce bag handouts by 50 % at least. So if you work in one. Please do it!

Till reciepts are another gripe. They are getting bigger every day and cashiers are forced to give them to you as part of their returns and refunds policy or some such twatty thing. I now take them home and put them in my wormery, cos I don't know a single shop that bothers to recycle them. A till at somewhere like WH Smith, must get through several rolls a day!

DJbozza alternative to polystyrene

23.06.2006 15:23

plastic carrier bags are great.someone i know put 500 of them into the diesel tank of his land rover and it went 147 miles without refueling!on a lighter note,i have noticed how much infant rice cakes resemble some of the polystyrene packaging i have scattered about.if these rice cakes were moulded into the shape of,let`s say,a dvd player,would it make an effective substitute for the hated white globes?

chris braid
mail e-mail: