Compostable take-out food packaging available in Guernsey

January 13th, 2009 by Richard Lord

A1 Distributors Ltd. in St. Georges Esplanade, St. Peter Port sells compostable take-out food containers, plates, bowls and soup and drink containers.

Compostable plates and trays made from sugar leaves at A1 Distributors in Guernsey (click image to expand)

These containers are made from sugar cane by-products, reed and straw.  If left accidentally in the countryside or on the sea shore these containers, cups, and plates will decompose within a matter of weeks.  During use they are liquid resistant and they can be frozen or heated in a microwave oven.

Compostable food containers cost a little more than traditional Styrofoam food containers and plates to the user but they cost less to our community and the general public.

The problem posed by Styrofoam take-out food containers is that some people dispose of them carelessly.  They can become a hazard to wildlife and unsightly litter in public areas.  Styrofoam lasts practically forever in the environment.

Environmental degradation may break Styrofoam containers into tiny pieces, which are the right size for ingestion by birds and marine life. The wind blows Styrofoam into the sea and it gets caught in hedgerows where it can remain for years.

Dirty Styrofoam take-out food containers accumulate in the QE II marina, St. Peter Port harbour where they can remain for months if they are not picked up by government employees or concerned members of the public. (click image to expand)

People enjoy a meal and drinks by the sea at La Valette bathing pools. They leave their litter behind for someone else to pick-up. These very light Styrofoam 'clam-shell' food containers can be carried into the sea by the rising tide or the wind where they can harm marine life.

The refuse from an evening meal on Cobo Beach on 10 June 2008. The participants left their litter on the beach. Had it not been picked up by concerned members of the public these Styrofoam food containers would have been picked up and carried out to sea by the rising tide.

It is cheaper for a business to externalise its cost and make the public pay for the litter it generates but responsible take-out food businesses use compostable packaging.

Another way to protect wildlife and to avoid the accumulation of Stryofoam food containers in our environment is to legislate to ban their use.  This has been done by the city of Seattle in Washington State, USA.  See the linked article.  The price of compostable packaging will decline with increased use because of production economies of scale.

To contact A1 Distributors Ltd. call 01481 726556 and ask about the compostable take-out food containers they sell.

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