[The law] “will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.”
PLA is said to decompose into carbon dioxide and water in a “controlled composting environment” in fewer than 90 days. What’s a controlled composting environment? Not your backyard bin, pit or tumbling barrel. It’s a large facility where compost—essentially, plant scraps being digested by microbes into fertilizer—reaches 140 degrees for ten consecutive days. So, yes, as PLA advocates say, corn plastic is “biodegradable.” But in reality very few consumers have access to the sort of composting facilities that can make that happen.
Brownfield sites are abandoned or underused industrial and commercial facilities available for re-use. Expansion or redevelopment of such a facility may be complicated by real or perceived environmental contaminations.
One of the most striking tests took place in 1995 in a small pond within sight of the Chernobyl nuclear power plants in Ukraine, where sunflowers were grown on Styrofoam rafts with their roots dangling in the water.
The pond, like everything for miles around, was contaminated with Strontium 90, Cesium 137 and other harmful radioactive substances released during the reactor fire in 1986. Within days, the sunflowers, which have dense mops of roots, accumulated levels of cesium and strontium that were several thousand times as high as the concentrations in the water.