Hardy Garden Club Virtual Meeting
December 8, 2020
· Feedback from Conservation Study Conference: November 17-18, 2020
- Excellent presentations with amazing photographs
- Presentations are now available on the GCA website landing page
· Zone VI Olmstead Project:
- Gay Legg and Laura Davis from St. George’s GC are leading the project
- Dede Petri – now with National Association of Olmstead Parks, has been
asked for guidance
- Gina suggested visiting the Baltimore Heritage’s website,
batimoreheritage.org, for their many virtual historical tours of Baltimore.
There is a tour on Dec. 18 at 1:00p.m. about the Olmsteds and the role
they played in shaping the Baltimore park system. Go to the website to
register for the virtual tour.
· HGC members are asked to regularly visit the GCA website. You will find the site is full of pertinent and interesting information that will keep you informed about the GCA and many other topics.
· Many thanks to Donna Reid for sending her pictures of HGC activities to Gay Legg for the Zone VI Newsletter and possible GCA publications.
· Photography Conference (NEW), open to all – January 22, 2021
· Community Projects:
- Adult and children’s gloves, socks, and hats collection for the homeless
Day time drop off sites: Joan Moore, Fran Flanigan, Sherry Jordan
End date: 12/15/2020
- Meadowood Park Rain Garden – The Sign Committee met to start designing the new
informational sign explaining the bee nurseries and the importance of native bees. The sign and revitalization of the garden will be funded by a donation from Susan Uhle’s family in her memory.
· Hort. Minute - Bliss McCord gave holiday decorating tips.
· Conservation Minute – Please see below for Joan Moore’s notes. She has emailed these to members and also included suggested YouTube videos.
· Reminder: Ellen Frost from Local Color suggested reading “ The Surprising Life of Constance Spry” by Sue Shephard.
· Next Club Meeting: January 12, 2021
Conservation Minute Notes 12/8/20
Is Paper any better than Plastic?
Is it Greener? Not necessarily. Many paper containers are coated with plastic so they are leakproof: Coffee cups, soda cups, Chinese food containers, paperboard boxes, paper soup containers, paper plates and bowls, paperboard milk cartons, ice cream containers, cardboard frozen dinner trays, anything else that can hold wet food.
Coated with polyethylene, perfluorinated compounds coat paper wrappers for burgers, sandwiches, microwave popcorn, butter wrappers.
In communities where food soiled paper and cardboard can be recycled into compost, the plastic coating disrupts the composting process and the paper breaks down much more slowly. The plastic coatings break down into micro-plastic particles that can contaminate the finished compost.
So, not only are we eating plastic from the wrapper, but trying to compost the paper just puts the plastic back into the soil where we grow our food.
Bio-based plastics or bioplastics- Could this be a better alternative?
There is a difference between bio-based plastics and biodegradable plastics. Bio-based refers to what the products are made from; corn, wheat, potatoes, sugar cane, bamboo, or other nonfood plants as opposed to fossil fuels. They may or may not be biodegradable.
Biodegradable refers to what happens to products at the end of their life. They can be completely broken down by microorganisms in the disposal environment which use the carbon in the plastic as a food source. Biodegradable products are not necessarily made from plants.
Bio-based plastics have a lower carbon footprint than fossil fuel-based plastics because the carbon comes from renewable resources. Instead of releasing carbon that has been underground for millions of years, bio-based products use the carbon that the plants have absorbed during their growth process (photosynthesis).
However, a lot of fossil fuels are used to grow and process the plants; fuel for farm machinery, fuel used to produce fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides (not to mention the additional poisoning effects these chemicals have along the food chain), fuel to transport the crops to processing plants and the actual processing of the raw materials.
Despite that, as long as the carbon footprint of processing the bio-based plastic is the same or better than the carbon footprint of processing the fossil fuel-based plastics, the bio-based plastics do have an advantage. Companies really need to look for renewable alternatives in the processing of the plant material.
There are also other environmental impacts of using bioplastics. Much of the material made in the US is from genetically modified corn. Patents owned by large mega-corporations threaten to monopolize the food supply. Monoculture of corn threatens biodiversity. Reducing our consumption of these bio-based products is the key.
“Biodegradable” plastics can be completely broken down by microbes in a controlled environment. A product that is biodegradable in an industrial composting facility might not be biodegradable in a backyard compost bin or in the ocean. In this case, it can be as much of a threat to marine life as non-biodegradable plastic.