By now most people know just how harmful it is to dispose plastic bags, which take more than 500 years to decompose. And while steps are being made to reduce plastic bags (including bans in California and my hometown, Portland, Oregon), many people still use plastic cling wrap to save their food. That little clear film, however, is still made with the same polyethylene made from natural gas or petroleum–and used everyday by so many people, it’s definitely not a small issue.
Fortunately, now there is a biodegradable substitute that is also made with a resin from renewable crops: BioBag Composable Cling Wrap. It acts just like your regular Saran wrap, but will break down in a compost pile–it even has an expiration date, like food! What’s also exciting is that in recent years, big cities have finally started to make serious commitments to reduce waste. Since the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance passed in 2009, San Francisco has increased composting by 50%. Now, over 80% of their waste is reused, recycled, or composted, and their goal is to achieve zero waste by 2020. And in New York where I live, they’ve just announced separate food scrap collection to begin, which will become mandatory by 2016. I’m glad that more steps are being taken at an institutional level, but I think we can all start small at home to reduce plastic waste–and it can be as simple as carrying around a shopping tote, and choosing a biodegradable product to a slightly cheaper, but environmentally harmful one. After all, being vegan isn’t just about keeping yourself healthy–it’s also about living peacefully and sustainably.