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Francl Community Presents: Bioplastics

in General, Presentation

On Friday, October 19, our office had the pleasure of hosting Dr. Love-Ese Chile, a Vancouver-based bioplastic specialist, for a presentation on…plastics!

Presented by Francl Community’s ENRICH initiative, Ese informed the Francl team on the history of plastics, the different types and their material components, and how they impact waste streams. We asked her how we can make a difference both in our work and personal lives. Here are some of her recommendations:

  1. Avoid! If you need cutlery for your lunch etc, it’s probably easier just to use silverware which can be washed and reused multiple times.
  2. Fibre-based compostables. If you are having a catered event and you need food-ware, go for the compostable products made from recycled paper or fiber. These are sure to break down in the compost facilities.
  3. Bio-based PE or PET. These plastics get a bad wrap, but they are actually the only plastics that get recycled on a large scale. So if you do need to use plastic products for whatever reason, look for bio-based plastics with the number 1 or 2.
  4. Ask your service providers for advice. Reach out to your waste management providers and ask them directly what type of compostable plastics they accept. And if they don’t accept any, perhaps you can ask them why, or try to find another provider who does accept them.
  5. Avoid polystyrene! Plastics with the number 6, are known to be contain toxic compounds that can quickly leach out into your food and drinks. Avoid them wherever possible.
  6. Less toxic alternatives in building applications which you could investigate are:

Ese recently completed her doctoral studies at UBC where she examined a solution to environmentally persistent plastics from the perspective of both a chemist and an engineer. Ese now works with people, government and industry on projects which explore questions that will inform and empower us to build sustainable and innovative communities.