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In the News: Biodegradable Products Are Built to Toss

The New York Times "Biodegradable Home Product Lines, Ready to Rot" is a nod to the advent of biodegradability in the home décor world these days. I wouldn't say the biodegradable plastic spoon I ate my turkey chili off of at lunch today is new and noteworthy. But, stylish product lines like Looolo Textiles, which are designed to compost in one year should you deign they're no longer en vogue, certainly qualify as new kids on the block. The Times interviewed Tim Zyto, chief executive of Montauk Sofa (which will soon add biodegradability to its product features), who said, "At first the whole idea was to have as little impact on the environment as possible. . . . Then it was, hey, what if the sofa just disappears when you’re done with it?”
The transition from advertising (and creating) products as durable now to biodegradable is said to acknowledge "that we are in a throwaway society, and that one’s furniture may not be an heirloom, to be passed along, but an object of fashion, ultimately destined for the landfill." I can't tell whether this is meant to be a criticism. But, to me, this acknowledgment seems sensible, considering that textiles and upholstered furniture (unlike wooden furniture) are inherently ephemeral when you're talking about the time frame of heirlooms. Whether these products will actually biodegrade under the landfill conditions is another discussion, but you can toss and turn over that when you read the article.
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