Grow a Unique Garden & Lend a Helping Hand

The Bag Garden is a great way to get kids involved with growing a garden and make a difference too

Want to an organic garden but don’t have much space? Like to get your kids involved too? Are you looking for a way to help those in need?

I came across a way to do all three. A cool organization in the UK has devised a way to create a unique “bag garden” that helps support struggling families in Africa at the same time.

Creating a Bag Garden lets you grow a garden in minimal space

The non-profit Send a Cow created the Bag Garden Starter Kit to help poor farmers in nine African countries learn sustainable agriculture, learn to feed their families and create a sustainable income.

Visit SendaCow.org to get involved and to watch videos illustrating this creative, make-a-difference-project.

EconoGreen’s Recyclable Plastic Bags

With so much attention on eliminating plastic bag use, it’s easy to forget the other plastics we use.

Jig-A-Loo USA Inc. has introduced a line of “green” plastic products that addresses this issue. EconoGreen is a line of renewable plastic bags and drop cloths made from 100 percent recycled plastic. They’re 100 percent recyclable and fully oxodegradable.

EconoGreen -envoronmentally-friendly and a good buy too

EconoGreen -envoronmentally-friendly and a good buy too

One of six new innovative products, EconoGreen is Jig-A-Loo’s premier into the environmental sector.

“We wanted something that touched everybody that bought plastic bags,” says Cindy Sutton, Jig-A-Loo USA’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. EconoGreen product line includes 13 gallon tall kitchen bags, 33 gallon large garbage bags, 38 gallon lawn and leaf bags, 42 gallon garage and automotive bags and 42 gallon contractor bags. These were, according to company research, the sizes and thicknesses consumers used the most.

Trying the kitchen trash bags, I found them strong and easy to use – as good as the “bad” plastic we normally use.

“We’re bringing to the market something that can sit next to traditional plastic bags, that’s just as strong, (even) tougher,” Sutton said.

Asked about oxodegradable versus biodegradable, Sutton explained California’s strict standards prevent them from using “biodegradable”. The term’s also misleading, she said.

“When you bury anything and take away access to oxygen (like in landfills), nothing breaks down,” she said.

Things are either oxodegreadable – using air to degrade – or hydrodegradable, using water. Many corn-based products are hydrodegradable in landfills, Sutton said, though the cornstarch from these plastics is bad for the waste stream.

EconoGreen products contain the additive Addiflex, helping them degrade within two years when exposed to air.

“Right now there’s no certification or study for degradability,” Sutton said.

Consumers might wonder then at all the products declaiming biodegradability.

Jig-A-:Loo is working to certify that their products use 100% recycled materials. They’re also working on the chemistry to find something that actually breaks down in landfills.

The company takes product affordability seriously.

There are a lot of green plastics out there, says Sutton. Everyone else is charging $2 to $3 more for their “green” plastic bags, she says. “Given our current economy, consumers shouldn’t have to spend more money for environmentally conscious products.”

EconoGreen products have a mix of pre- and post consumer plastic that helps hold costs down. “We want to partner with the consumer to help the environment instead of lining our pockets,” Sutton said.

Jig-A-Loo also keeps the product environmentally-friendly by eliminating drawstrings from the bags.

Drawstrings aren’t biodegradable. You can’t get additive in them, says Sutton.

“You’d be taking an oxodegradable product made of recycled materials and adding virgin plastic to it,” she said. They’d have to cut the plastic to make the handles, which would create waste and raise the cost. All this defeats the bags’ purpose.

“With these products, consumers can do their part to help the environment without spending more money,” Sutton says.

EconoGreen plastics are available at www.jigaloo.com and at small independent hardware shops. Sutton says they’re working with Lowe’s, Home Depot and Walgreens to carry their products. Consumers can, however, ask those stores to order these products.