Pardon the gush, but I just have to share this fantastic, anti-plastic-licious tidbit with you: The folks at Straus Family Creamery are working on replacing their plastic yogurt tubs with a biodegradable potato-based alternative by the end of the year.
Ever since I recently internalized the fact that plastic recycling isn't very green (in terms of both people and the environment), I've been trying to decrease the amount of the stuff that comes into my life. I'm no Beth Terry, though, and my refrigerator in particular is home to a fair number of plastic containers: tubs of hummus, salsa, and especially yogurt.
Mostly I buy Straus yogurt. I love the way it tastes and the way it's made (organically, but beyond that, it's cooled in metal vats, not the plastic tubs you buy it in). And, as you can tell from my two entries on the company in the Boycotts & Buycotts section of this blog (lower right), I have a lot of respect for Straus's business practices. For example, I'm really into the fact that I can buy its awesome milk in a returnable glass container.
Now I have even more respect. The reason Straus is pursuing the potato-based tubs instead of what's emerging as the standard compostable packaging, corn-based PLA—which isn't as environmentally friendly as it seems—is that, as marketing manager Liz Scatena told me, Straus has "a very strict policy against GMOs. We do not want them in our products, nor do we want to support their growth." The corn in PLA is genetically modified, and lots of pesticides are used to grow it.
I look forward to seeing Straus's totally tubular tubs whenever they hit the shelves. In the meantime, though, I just discovered another local company, Saint Benoît, that uses glass and ceramic containers for its yogurt, so I'll probably branch out and give it a try. Cost-wise, it's only one penny more than Straus (as long as you return the containers).