The Long-Term Value of a Strong, Sustainable, Alternative to Plastic Bags

by Ed Weisberg

When Grocers made the shift from paper to plastic bags in the early 1980s, it was a boon to their bottom line.   Plastic bags are significantly less expensive than paper bags, are stronger, and since they require less energy and use less resources for manufacture, actually have a smaller carbon footprint than paper. However, plastic bags have received a bad reputation from environmentalists, who are rightfully concerned about the number of bags that end up as litter in our waters and in our trees.

In an effort to mitigate waste and environmental impact, as well as reduce costs, bag manufacturers have endeavored to make bags thinner and thinner. Unfortunately, this results in less confidence by the customer that the bags are secure and an increase in  register clerks doubling bags. Industry estimates are that 20% of grocery bags are doubled or damaged at the cash register. Thus the real cost and environmental impact of these bags has increased as retailers use more of these thinner plastic bags.   In addition, rather than encouraging recycling, some communities have looked to ban, or charge for plastic and paper bags at the grocer.

recycle barrelWhat’s an environmentally concerned retailer to do? First and foremost, retailers need to encourage customers to recycle their bags. Recycling is the best way to cut down on waste, as well as eliminate the danger that littered bags pose to wildlife. But even better, with a long term perspective, retailers can save money, reduce their carbon footprint, increase the visibility of their sustainable message, and mitigate danger to wildlife by converting to COG-based degradable bags, such as ECOgrade Bags.

Fundamentally, COG-based ECOgrade bags bring many immediate advantages to retailers:

  • They are made from an entirely new compound, called ECOgrade bag sample on white fixedCalcium Olefinic Glucosate.
  • If littered or lost, these bags degrade to a non-toxic residue within 240 days of exposure to sunlight, which can then further biodegrade.
  • They are approved for recycling with plastics.
  • They produce 34% less Greenhouse gas in pre-production, and use less energy in manufacturing than plastic or paper bags.
  • They cost about the same, on a per bag basis, as plastic bags.

But in fact, there are many long-term and hidden advantages to ECOgrade even beyond this list. The largest cost savings is in the durability of ECOgrade bags. Since they are generally stronger, the need for double bagging, and the risk of splitting when packing standard grocery loads, is eliminated. This results in requiring approximately 20% fewer bags, which immediately improves profitability and reduces waste.

Beyond the costs savings, recent studies have proven the value of communicating a message of sustainability, and that customers will choose a sustainable company over the alternative. The Edeleman Goodpurpose ® study (2012) found that 73% of consumers would switch brands if a different brand of similar quality supported a good cause. Furthermore, the Nielsen Global Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility found that 50% of global consumers are willing to even pay more for goods and services from companies that have implemented programs that give back. What does this mean to retailers? It means that if you are a retailer that has competitors in your markets, and you clearly communicate your sustainability message with a product such as ECOgrade bags, almost 3 of every 4 customers who frequent your competitor’s store will be inclined to switch to your brand. If the market is split 50/50, that means that you could increase your customer base by 36%! Imagine what that does to your revenue and profitability!

In addition the consumer activities, recent studies by McKinsey, Deutsche Bank, and Harvard Business School/University of London have quantified the positive effects of value chartsustainability activities on corporate value. McKinsey found that 39% of those surveyed believe that a clearly communicated sustainability message will increase a company’s value. The Harvard/University of London Study found that an investment in a value-weighted portfolio of high-sustainability companies would have outperformed low-sustainability companies by 46%, clearly indicating a return on sustainable behavior. Thus, not only will they gain more customers and save money, but the environmental message will resonate with investors to drive up market value.

The bottom line? Without any additional spending, a retailer or grocer has the opportunity to become more sustainable, help our environment, reduce costs, increase their customer base, and increase their corporate value. Is there any reason not to change to ECOGrade bags?
Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in ASTM 5272, bag ban, biodegradable, carbon footprint, consumer packaging, Consumer Product of the Year, degradable bags, environment, green business, green grocer, green marketing, grocery bags, GXT Greem, GXT Green, photodegradable, plastic, plastic bags, recycling, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Sustainable grocery, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GXT Green Announces the 2015 Fifth Annual Green Honor Roll Nominees

-by Ed Weisberg

Every year, to celebrate Earth Day, GXT Green recoghonor roll ribbonnizes leaders in sustainability. These include companies, organizations, individuals, and educational institutions. We are excited to proclaim the following list of nominees for 2015. The finalists for the 5th annual GXT Green Honor Roll will be announced for Earth Day, April 22, 2015

And the nominees are…

Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation:

blue oceanThe Blue Ocean Society, located in Portsmouth NH, offers boundless efforts to protect marine mammals in the Gulf of Maine through education, research and conservation. They run an educational facility in Hampton Beach NH which helps children learn about sea animals including a “touch tank” museum. In addition, their actions include regular volunteer beach cleanups along the NH coast. Since 1993, Blue Ocean Society has collected over 62 tons of debris from beaches! And just to be sure that they don’t make matters worse if some of their cleanup bags blow away, they use ECOgrade photodegradable bags for all of their cleanup sessions. http://blueoceansociety.org/

CIPET and LARPM (India):

cipetCIPET is an accredited premier national Institution devoted to Academic, Technology Support & Research activities for the growth of Polymer & allied industries in India. Their Laboratory for Advanced Research in Polymeric Materials (LARPM), R & D group performs qualitative research in the emerging areas of polymeric Materials, focusing on

  • Ecoefficient, Non-polluting Processing Technologies, Modification of Materials through Nanocomposites, Blends & Alloys
  • Imparting Education to Scientific & Industrial Community
  • Technology Transfer
  • Recycling and Reuse of Plastics Waste

They are working hard to solve the problem of plastic and solid waste disposal in India. http://www.larpm.gov.in/

Colgate University:

colgateSince becoming a signatory of the Clean Air-Cool Planet Climate Action Plan in 2004 Colgate has been at the forefront of sustainability. Putting this into action, the university today derives 95 percent of its electricity from hydroelectric and other non-carbon emitting sources, and 75 percent of its heating needs from an on-campus, wood-fired boiler. Last year, this plant helped Colgate avoid consuming the equivalent of 1.2 million gallons of fuel oil and saved the university more than $1.8 million in heating costs. All new buildings and major renovations on campus must pursue a minimum of LEED Silver certification. Congratulations to Colgate for their initiatives. http://www.colgate.edu/distinctly-colgate/sustainability

Hannaford Foods:

hannafordHannaford Foods philosophy states that “We are all connected. We are all linked by a shared concern for our earth and a desire to care for the diverse bounty it provides”. Sustainability practices are saving Hannaford Supermarkets around $15 million annually, while diverting 125 million pounds of waste from landfills and keeping more than 430 million pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted. Among the efforts, documented by the Manomet Grocery Stewardship Certification program, are:

  • Energy efficiency and waste-reduction efforts at the supermarkets reduced greenhouse gas emissions by as much as taking 41,892 cars off the road.
  • Stores employ electric and natural-gas conservation practices that save the company more than $2 million a year.
  • Water conservation efforts save at least 43.4 million gallons of water annually.

“Hannaford customers care about the environment and expect us to be good stewards on their behalf,” George Parmenter, manager of sustainability for Hannaford, said in a statement. “Certification of our stores demonstrates that our associates work every day on sustainability that is both good for the environment and good for business.” http://bit.ly/19nRvaz

The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences:

manometManomet is a nonprofit organization with more than 30 scientists and staff working from the north slope of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. Manomet’s mission is to conserve natural resources for the benefit of wildlife and human populations. Through research and collaboration, Manomet builds science-based, cooperative solutions to environmental problems. Among their prominent programs is their Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC), a practical, proven environmental certification program to help grocery store leadership reduce their environmental footprint through continuous improvement and employee engagement. This group is actively educating grocers on how to become more sustainable in all of their practices. https://www.manomet.org/

Mass Sustainable Communities:

sustainable livingThis grass-roots initiative brings together sustainable organizations and communities year after year. Their annual conference encourages communities and businesses to learn about and exchange best practices, research, products, and services. 2015 will mark their 5th year of organizing this program to spread the word on sustainable practices. http://masustainablecommunities.com

MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative:

mit

mitThe Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan is built on the promise of a new future. They believe that environmental, societal, economic, business, and personal wellbeing are parts of an interconnected whole. They are committed to creating a new vision for progress and prosperity and a world that will flourish and thrive for generations.  They empower students, faculty, researchers, and business leaders to join together in this endeavor. http://mitsloan.mit.edu/sustainability/

Roche Bros:

rocheRoche Bros is a perennial nominee on this list. Their continued initiatives to increase sustainability make them hard to miss.   This year, they expect to fully adopt the ECOgrade degradable bags into their chain, creating a visible and proactive approach to eliminating plastic bag pollution. http://www.Rochebros.com

 

Tops Markets:

topsTops Markets’ home base is in Buffalo, NY. According to ECOwatch, Buffalo is #6 and nearby Rochester is the #4 greenest city in the US. Tops is well integrated into this environment. To further their commitment, they are implementing an even more visible “green program” to increase their contribution to the sustainable efforts of their communities. http://www.topsmarkets.com

University of Massachusetts, Lowell:

umassAccording to the Boston Globe “UMass Lowell is among the nation’s leading centers for plastics technology, and its Plastics Engineering program…is helping to push new boundaries of how these versatile materials are used, produced and processed.” This includes experimentation on ways to improve the sustainability of plastics and development/enhancement of sustainable plastic replacements. We applaud their continued investment in developing sustainable solutions to plastic pollution and oil dependency. UMass Lowell is dedicated to making the world a better place. http://www.uml.edu/Engineering/Plastics/default.aspx

Wamogo Connecticut High school junior and senior Chemistry21 class, taught by April Devereux

wamogoThis group of inquisitive students has taken on the task of promoting the use of photo degradable plastic bags and working to find a recycling bin that helps to start the decomposition process even sooner. Through a series of controlled experiments, they are testing their hypotheses, and will present their findings at the 2015 Connecticut Student Innovation Exposition. As stated by the class, “We believe that young people can make a dramatic difference in the condition of the environment.  By seeking alternatives to using durable plastics and toxic chemicals we can positively impact our future and future generations.”   http://solaccelerator.webs.com

Please join GXT Green in congratulating these organizations for their efforts.

To see the winners for previous years, please click on the links below:

GXT Green 2014 Honor Roll Winners (need the link)earth day

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in Consumer Product of the Year, Earth Day, Earth Day 2015, Earth Day Honor Roll, ECOgrade, environment, green business, green marketing, GXT Greem, GXT Green, Innovation Award, photodegradable, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Sustainable grocery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Your Priority Use for a Low Cost Plastic Alternative?

  by Ed Weisberg

ECOgrade degradable bags are rapidly being adopted as a cost-competitive suECOgrade chemical formulastainable alternative to plastic carry-out grocery bags. However, at GXT Green our vision for ECOgrade continues to include expansion beyond bags as a sustainable low-cost replacement for plastic. ECOgrade can actually be tuned to be either degradable or not, and can be tailored to replace plastic resin in everything from bags to car bumpers.

Since plastic bag pollution from littered bags is one of the most visible and pressing environmental concerns, our initial focus has been on a ECOgrade replacement for grocery and retail bags. However, we are looking to the future, and are constantly offered suggestions by enthusiastic customers and advocates for new application of ECOgrade. We are now beginning to address these ideas, with some very interesting solutions.

The most impactful use of ECOgrade that we are developing, beyond carry-out bags, is ECOgrade degradable agricultural mulch film. ECOgrade provides a clear and obvious agricultureadvantage over plastic when used to protect crops. Like plastic, ECOgrade both extends the growing season by keeping the ground warm longer, and saves time and labor by controlling weeds. However unlike plastic, ECOgrade saves tremendously on end-of-season cleanup. Disposal of plastic mulch not only costs about $100/acre to remove the plastic but produces over 143,000 tons of plastic waste in the United States alone, enough to circle the earth over 100 times if lined up end-to-end.  ECOgrade agricultural film, on the other hand, can be left to degrade on its own, which it will do in about 240 days, leaving a non-toxic residue. Alternatively, at the end of the season, residual ECOgrade film can be safely collected, burned and the ash used as a soil sweetener, thus eliminating the need to bring it to a landfill. Unlike plastic, which melts and emits toxic vapors when burned, ECOgrade has been proven to burn safely, emitting a minimal amount of white smoke, and leaving behind a soil enriching calcium residue.

In addition, we are being approached by others who have new uses for ECOgrade film.   We recently engaged in a discussion with a prominent clothing factorysustainable clothing manufacturer.   Despite their desire to minimize packaging, they have a challenge in their warehouses. As their clothes are sorted and packed, they are transported on conveyor belts, which are not always perfectly clean. Therefore, the clothes must be covered. In the past, they have used conventional plastic bags. However, they realize that covers made with ECOgrade may be the best solution for them. For this application, ECOgrade film can be customized as a sustainable bag that will contain their clothes, with a smaller carbon footprint and the advantage of being more sustainable than plastic. Furthermore, since they currently manufacture bags in their own plant, it will be easy to switch to ECOgrade, with no capital investment.

Of course, ECOgrade can be used for much more than film. Virtually anything made of plastic can be modified and become more sustainable by using ECOgrade. Looking forward, we are excited about the ideas that people keep sending us for new ways to replace plastic with ECOgrade.

Do you have some ideas? Please send them to us today at info@gxtgreen.com! Thank you.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in agricultural mulch, bag ban, biodegradable, degradable bags, Degradable mulch, environment, GXT Greem, GXT Green, photodegradable, plastic, plastic bags, plasticulture, recycling, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Steps to Make Your Grocery Store More Sustainable, and More Profitable

by Ed Weisberg

In a newly released study conducted In August of 2014, Gibbs-rrb interviewed over two thousand adults to assess the impact of sustainability on grocery buying habits.   Not surprisingly, they found that sustainability continues to be a key factor in American purchasing habits at the grocery.   Consumers greatly prefer buying products that support their own personal principles of social responsibility, according to the study.

Although price is always important, Americans are willing to spend an average of 31% more per week on “safe and sustainable” foods that are produced in ways that advance the well-being of the planet and humans, and the safety of food sources.   Jeffrey R. Graubard, managing director of Bibbx-rbb Strategic Communications stated “Consumers are voting with their wallets [and] increasingly choosing brands aligned with their values, while penalizing brands that disappoint them. This is true not only for actual food items, but for the brand banner of the grocers themselves as well.

The Consumer study found that there were seven major influencers on grocery purchases. These included:

  1. Nutritional Content (i.e. ingredients that help promote good health) 88%
  2. Food Safety (i.e. prevention of contamination and pathogens, antigens and foreign bodies) 87%
  3. Food Waste (i.e. item size that GXT Green Groceriesmay cause unconsumed amount of food or beverage) 78%
  4. Labels and Traceability (i.e. ability to know the location of origin, supplier source or use of genetically modified ingredients) 76%
  5. Sustainable Packaging (i.e. packing produced via environmentally responsible practices) 72%
  6. Labor Practices (i.e. wages and safety of workers involved in farming or packaging) 68%
  7. Resource Intensiveness (i.e. amount of land, water, food, or energy needed to produce) 62%

The challenge for grocers is not only to be responsive to these factors, but also to communicate to their customers that they are paying attention to what is important to them. And of course, grocers must do so without incurring excessive costs, as the economic welfare of the store remains key to its survival.

To boil it down, visibility of these key elements can be achieved following a set of seven clear steps and activities:

  1. Go local to insure traceability, freshness, and nutrition. Engage with local farmers wherever possible.
  2. Protect nature, and save fish. Be sure your fish and food is from sustainable sources.
  3. Think welfare and treat your employees and suppliers well: Employee attitude is important. Word gets out!
  4. Eliminate and recycle food waste. Be sure you have a clear procedure to dispose of compostable waste separately from trash. Engage with a local community group that will take unsellable and post-expiration date food for food banks.
  5. Provide options for customers who wish to avoid processed food and products.
  6. Make your facility sustainable with energy efficient design, lighting, and Leed design. Some stores, such as Wegmans, have even implemented energy efficient hydrogen fuel cells for their handling equipment.
  7. Provide a sustainable solution for your customers to get their food home. Many shoppers now bring their own bags to ECOgrade bagscarry their groceries. However, for those that don’t, a sustainable carryout bag will be your emblem to show customers and the community that you care about the environment. Instead of paper or plastic, which are both energy resource intensive (and expensive in the case of paper), consider offering your customers a product such as ECOgrade Degradable bags. These bags cost the same as plastic, but solve the plastic bag pollution issue, as they will photo-degrade to a non-toxic residue from sunlight exposure within 240 days if littered. In addition, they are recyclable with plastic and use less energy and produce fewer greenhouse gasses in production than plastic or paper. As a follow-up to all you do in-store, ECOgrade bags provide a medium to send the message that you care about the environment home with your customers.

As we saw in all of the categories surveyed, visible sustainability has a major impact on the decision of customers to shop in your store. 31% more per week on “safe and sustainable” products is a great business booster, and certainly worth striving for.   But it all depends not only on your actions, but also your ability to communicate this to your customers.   Be sure that both when they are in the store, and when they carry their groceries home, they know that you and they have both done your best to mitigate negative impacts on our planet.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in bag ban, degradable bags, ECOgrade, green business, green grocer, green marketing, grocery bags, GXT Greem, GXT Green, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Sustainable grocery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Is No Longer a Need For Bag Bans!

by Ed Weisberg
Last week, the city of Huntington Beach California, one of the first areas to implement single use plastic bag bans, instituted steps to rescind their ban (Surf City First In Nation to Repeal Plastic Bag Ban). Previously, we have seen bans rescinded in Toronto Canada (Toronto Plastic Bag Ban Nixed By City Council) as well. Perhaps there is now recognition of a better solution to stop plastic pollution than just simply banning plastic bags?

Sometimes, laws that seem to make perfect sense at a time become unnecessary as technology aGXT Greennd cultural norms progress. Did you know that it’s against the law for unmarried women to parachute on Sundays in Florida? In Alabama, putting salt on a railroad track is punishable by death. In Arizona, donkeys may not sleep in bathtubs. In Pennsylvania, state law requires that you stop your car every mile to send up a rocket signal. And if you see a skittish team of horses coming toward you, be sure to take your car apart, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes—unless, of course, you want to be in violation of state law. Perhaps in just a few short years, we will look back at the laws banning single use shopping bags as yet another unnecessary obsolete law. You see, all of these laws were developed for a good reason when there was not a better solution. Once something better came along, however, they just became obsolete, as they were a legal burden on police, and no longer made sense. The day is here when bans on single use bags are falling into this category, as retailers solve the plastic pollution issue without the need for legal oversight.

Businesses are eager to do the right thing for the environment, as long as it is not an undue financial encumbrance. A current example is the way some businesses are addressing the environmental danger of plastic microbeads by developing alternatives. Microbeads are tiny bits of plastic, often used in skin defoliators and toothpaste to create friction and help clean. They are also the end result of many kinds of plastics when they break down. When ingested by shellfish and small animals, microbeads give them a feeling of being full, and can starve them to death.

Having been made aware of this danger, manufacturers are voluntarily removing microbeads from their products. Proctor and Gamble, as a concerned company, has promised to stop putting them in toothpaste by March, 2016. Thus, before the public even becomes widely aware of the danger of microbeads, responsible businesses will do what is right, and the problem will be solved.

Businesses are also aware of the dangers of littered plastic bags, no smoking under waterand continue to find alternatives. For years grocers have developed a recycling process, and offered containers in their stores to enable consumers to return their bags. They offer reusable bags to those who want to buy them. They experimented in the past with bio-degradable and compostable bags. However, they had been dogged by the fact that there was no viable cost effective and convenient alternative for consumers who may be careless enough to litter bags, and present a risk to wildlife. Thus, to address the behavior of people who litter, legislators began to develop and enforce bag bans.

The good news today is that these bans are no longer necessary. Products such as GXT Green ECOgrade degradable bags can now satisfy the needs of the environment, communities, grocers, and retailers. They function as well as plastic bags, cost about the same to the retailer, and can be recycled along with plastic bags. If they are littered, they photodegrade from exposure to sunlight and subsequently biodegrade to a non-toxic residue. Thus, there is no reason for retailers and grocers not to switch to ECOgrade bags, eliminating the need and cost of enforcing single-use bag bans. Just like laws of the past that regulated donkeys bathing in bathtubs, the need for bans of single use bans is rapidly becoming an unnecessary regulation and legal burden. We are glad to see that science and ingenuity continues to lead us to a better solution for our environment, our convenience, and our economy.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green, Inc.

Posted in ASTM 5272, bag ban, biodegradable, Consumer Product of the Year, degradable bags, ECOgrade, global warming, green business, green marketing, GXT Greem, GXT Green, Innovation Award, plastic bags, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GXT Green Sponsors the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup

by Ed Weisberg

Every year, the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation coordinates the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup—a major initiative to clean up the coast of New Hampshire as part of an international effort with the Ocean Conservancy. This year, 1,121 volunteers gave up their weekend time to remove 2,207.2 pounds of trash, including 45,465 items from the coast!

Since 1993, Bbeach cleanuplue Ocean Society has collected over 62 tons of debris. The good news is that through education and outreach efforts they are seeing a reduction in the amount of trash that litterers are leaving on the beach. In 1993, 113,919 items were collected weighing 15,000 pounds! Over the past three years debris collected as part of the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup has been relatively stable at approximately a ton of waste each year.

ECOgrade™ degradable bags were used to collect debris during this year’s New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup. ECOgrade bags provided a durable solution to hold the trash, which included 164 littered plastic grocery bags. If by some chance any of the ECOgrade cleanup bags were to blow away, the good news is that they will degrade to a non-toxic residue from exposure to sunlight, mitigating any risk to wildlife, and avoiding the need to clean them up next time.   It also seems only right that bags made from ECOgrade, which can be recycled, and have less environmental impact in manufacture than plastic or paper, would be used for this important task.

We salute Blue Ocean Society’s effort to keep New Hampshire’s ECOgrade bag sample on blackcoast free of debris, and Pollslook forward to participating as a sponsor in coming years, until such time as these cleanup initiatives are no longer needed. GXT Green has committed to working with the Blue Ocean Society for the coming year, as the “Adopt-a-Beach” sponsor of Jenness Beach, as well as to supply ECOgrade bags for all of their cleanup efforts.

To learn more about the beach cleanups and the Blue Ocean Society, please visit www.blueoceansociety.org, or email the organization at info@blueoceansociety.org for more information.

To learn more about award winning ECOgrade degradable bags and their attributes as an alternative to plastic or paper, please visit http://www.ECOgradebag.com.

Edward Weisberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, GXT Green

Posted in Beach Cleanup, biodegradable, Blue Ocean, degradable bags, ECOgrade, environment, green business, green marketing, grocery bags, GXT Greem, GXT Green, New Hampshire Beach, photodegradable, plastic bags, sustainability, sustainability news, sustainable business, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Sustainable Solution to the Agricultural Mulch Waste Problem

by Jackie Deacutis

Plasticulture, or the use of plastic materials in crop production, has become an important tool for farmers around the world. It is used in row crop farming to reduce weed growth ECOgrade filmand warm the soil for earlier planting and greater yields. The most commonly used solution is plastic mulch, but its use requires additional labor and costs, and is not a particularly sustainable solution for the environment. At the end of the season the plastic strips have to be carted away to a landfill or burned leaving behind toxic residue and smoke. It costs about $100/acre to remove the plastic and produces over 143,000 tons of plastic waste in the United States alone, enough to circle the earth over 100 times.

100 x globeOne solution that has been explored is to use a bio-degradable mulch film. This solution is more sustainable, since it would not need to be removed at the end of the season because it degrades before the next growing season. This reduces costs for the farmer and the environment. However, most existing bio-degradable or oxo-degradable films are 5-6 times more expensive than plastic and are difficult to use because they tear easily. Some of them also leave behind residue that may negatively affect the soil.

ECOgrade™ mulch film from GXT Green, brings new technology which addresses both the cost and sustainability problems, making it a viable replacement for plastic mulch without making the farmer sacrifice price or quality. ECOgrade film is made from an entirely new compound called Calcium Olefinic Glucosate (COG), It costs about the same as plastic, has the same high strength as plastic, is not brittle, and if left on the ground will photodegrade in 240 days, and then biodegrades, leaving behind no toxins in the soil. It can be left to degrade in the soil, or can also be burned safely, emitting low smoke and producing calcium rich ash which has been tested and certified as a safe a soil conditioner adding up to 9% growth.

Furthermore, ECOgrade mulch contains more than 50% natural and plentiful materials and produces nearly 50% less greenhouse gas in pre-production. At the same cost of traditional plastic mulch, without the end of season expenses, ECOgrade mulch is a truly sustainable and cost savings alternative benefitting both the farmer and the environment.

Jackie Deacutis is a student at The College of William and Mary, and an intern at GXT Green.

Posted in agricultural mulch, biodegradable, Crop covers, Degradable mulch, ECOgrade mulch, environment, global warming, green business, GXT Green, mulch, plasticulture, sustainability, sustainability news | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment