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Would you like a Cassava in that too?
In Cleanzine's infancy (we're not sure when, but it was well over a decade ago) we ran a news item about Sainsbury's trialing semolina-based shopping bags.
Apparently they looked similar to the throwaway shopping bags we were using in their millions and they performed as well as their plastic rivals, but rather than damaging the environment, they would, once they had become torn and tatty and been thrown out - quickly biodegrade.
We do not know how long Sainsbury's continued using the semolina bags or whether they are still in use, but over the years, many countries have adopted legislation to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags. People are encouraged to take their own bags with them when they shop and if they do need extra bags they have to pay for them, which means fewer are used overall.
We still of course have the problem of too many bags being in circulation and these will eventually be discarded and either end up in landfill, or be found blighting the landscape, so there is still some way to go before the problem is completely solved.
Axa claims that each year, we throw away enough plastic to circle the earth four times. And it says that in an effort to reduce the pollution and do something about the waste caused by plastic bags, the government in Madagascar has partially banned its production and use.
Obviously an alternative is needed and bags made of cassava starch are being introduced. These do not contain polyethylene and they take three - six months to break down, as opposed to the 100 plus years taken by typical plastic bags.
Axa says that Cassava bag production is increasing and is likely to be adopted by various other African countries, as well as countries in Asia.
14th July 2016