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Congressional cafeterias getting rid of the green

On Friday evening, March 4, ABC news featured the cafeteria in the Longworth building, the office building for many of the nation’s Representatives. Having eaten lunch in the Longworth building in Washington DC at the last two Fall Conferences of the American Mold Builders Assn., I experienced first-hand the greening efforts employed there. Included were PLA eating utensils and many different disposal bins for paper, plastic, and real trash. But beware the PLA utensils! No commingling allowed!   

   
Yes, the PLA utensils aren’t the best things when it comes to recycling – or eating. The ABC reporter stuck a PLA spoon in his paper cup of hot soup, picked up his sandwich and took a bite, then picked up the spoon, which had nearly melted in his soup. The spoon drooped downward spilling the soup.
   
Enough is enough. Out with the flimsy utensils and recycling bins! Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), chairman of the House Administration Committee, announced the indefinite suspension of the composting program in January. Recycling of bottles will still be in place. The cost for the recycling and composting efforts from Congressional cafeterias ran $475,000 annually (to truck it off to a facility in Virginia).
   
Now the Congressional cafeterias are restocked with styrofoam cups and good, sturdy plastic utensils. That’s something that Maryland Plastics, which just acquired competitor Galaware, might want to make note of. (Maryland Plastics molds a proprietary line of plastic cutlery, tableware, cups, etc.) Especially after commenting in a PlasticsToday story earlier this week that the company wants to expand its product line into bioplastics including PLA.
   
Maryland is conveniently close to all those Congressional cafeterias—and Maryland Plastics’ GM Jack Bucchioni might want to call on the purchasing person for all those Congressional cafeterias to see if he can sell them some good, sturdy utensils. But, Jack, you might want to make note to self: NO PLA ALLOWED! —Clare Goldsberry

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