Scrap Collector: Washington state to consider composting the dead, 40-year-old plastic Doritos bag found on beach
Plus: a recycling opportunity that'll thrill the goats in your life, and South Korea's plastic bag ban.
Welcome to Scrap Collector, Waste Dive's Friday round-up of insights and stories you may have missed during the week.
WASHINGTON STATE BILL WANTS TO COMPOST THE DEAD
Planning on dying in Washington state? Lucky you! If Senator Jamie Pedersen gets his way, you may have the option of having your dead body composted. The bill, which Pedersen plans to introduce in this month’s state legislature, seeks to legalize “recomposing” — placing human remains in a vessel and and allowing them to rapidly decompose into a nutrient-rich soil. According to Recompose, the corporation responsible for the actual composting, recomposition is both less expensive and more environmentally friendly than burial — which leaches harmful toxins into the surrounding soil and groundwater — and cremation, which releases approximately 540 pounds of carbon dioxide per body.
Recompose, on the other hand, places the shrouded, unembalmed remains in a vessel on a bed of organic material — wood chips, alfalfa, straw — while air pumped periodically into the pod accelerates body-metabolizing microbial activity. Altogether, it takes approximately one month — at the relatively low cost of $5,500 — to reduce the remains to a cubic yard of compost.
Of course, naysayers gonna naysay — and in the bill’s case, some of the most strident opposition may end up coming from Roman Catholic Church, which could deem the separation of body parts to be theologically problematic (an earlier version of the bill was shot down due in part to the church, according to Pedersen). However, Pedersen, who has already signed up several co-sponsors in the state senate, remains optimistic about the legislation’s chances. Assuming it passes, it will take effect May 1, 2020 — perhaps fundamentally changing the way we view death, decay and, ultimately, rebirth.
IN OTHER NEWS...
40-year-old Doritos bag found on beach — The News & Observer
Those of you still on Facebook may have already seen this post:
Yes, that’s correct — the National Park Service found the plastic Doritos bag on Cape Lookout National Seashore a few weeks ago and, upon closer inspection, saw that the bag is from 1979 — meaning it may very well have been floating in the Atlantic Ocean for the past four decades. For contextual reference, here’s an abridged list of things that are as old as this bag:
Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album
The McDonald’s Happy Meal
US-China diplomatic relations
Long story short, the Doritos bag is ancient (read: older than me), and I can point to at least two things on the above list that it may still end up outliving.
The holiday gift that keeps on giving (to goats) — KARE 11
The rest of us may be fending off those post-holiday blues, but for Minnesotan goats, the party’s just getting started. Goat Dispatch, a local goat grazing rental company, is asking the city of Faribault for donations of Christmas trees and wreaths. While these holiday decorations may have outlasted their usefulness in your home, they provide a nutritious treat for goats during plant-free winter months.
“It’s been a good way for people not just to throw their trees away and throw them into the landfills,” Faribault Parks and Recreation Director Paul Peanasky noted to KARE 11 — and while he’s presumably too dignified to gush about how Christmas tree-eating goats are the most absolutely adorable thing, Waste Dive will exercise no such restraint:
AROUND THE WORLD
South Korea launches plastic bag ban — Channel NewsAsia
South Korea’s got its new year’s resolutions down — the government has banned all single-use plastic bags in major supermarkets. According to South Korea’s environment ministry, the law, which came into effect on Jan. 1, aims to preserve the country’s natural resources by helping manage recyclable waste. Violators of the ban could face fines of up to 3 million won (US $2,680).
SEEN & HEARD
More than 300 Sanitation employees worked in #TimesSquare after the ball dropped to clean the confetti (and other debris) left behind from the New Year's celebration. Here's how we got the job done! Wishing all a healthy and happy 2019! #happynewyear pic.twitter.com/G8dcUt0ynD— NYC Sanitation (@NYCSanitation) January 1, 2019
sanitation without representation https://t.co/x1dlQxI51M— Brandon Carter (@brandonetc) January 2, 2019
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