Organic Factory by Giles Belley
The two main types of biodegradable plastics: oxo-biodegradable and hydro-biodegradable. In both cases degradation begins with a chemical process (oxidation or hydrolysis), followed by a biological process. Both types emit CO2 as they degrade, but hydro-biodegradables (usually starch-based) can also emit methane. Both types are compostable, but only oxo-biodegradable can be economically recycled. **When the material has reached the fragmentation stage it is no longer a plastic, and is "biodegradable" in the same way as nature's wastes such as straw and twigs. The process continues until the material has biodegraded to nothing more than CO2, water, and humus, and it does not leave fragments of petro-polymers in the soil.
Used by NASA and greenhouse gardeners for years, hydroponics offer a growing technique that substitutes water and a nutrient solution for soil. Streamgarden provides the technology; all you have to do is refill the water about once a week and plug in the included nutrient solution every three months. The only hitch: It doesn’t pipe in sunlight, so
the windowless are out of luck.
For anyone living alone or just feeling lonely, these friendly extraterrestrials are companionable without the hassle of having to give them food, water, or attention. When you find yourself a mate or roommate—or simply tire of your rubber friends—just turn them upside down in a pot and cover their heads with soil. Their bodies will decompose and, in their place, tasty edibles will grow.
- A landscape architect in San Francisco harnesses an underground water source to create a lush marshland in his own backyard.