SIRC – Media Watch 22-10-99
The BBC, on September 28 reported that Monsanto had successfully managed to manufacture biodegradable plastics from genetically modified cress and rape crops but this too was seen by some as a method of ingratiating the press. The ubiquitous argument that genes from the novel crops may spread to other non-GM sites was once again utilised to denounce this development. Would they have us believe that the hedgerows of rural Britain may suddenly sprout a range of pastel tuppaware? The abstract of the research, published in Nature Biotechnology, says: "Money may not grow on trees, but one day plastic credit cards just might." Manufactured from this material, Greenpeace's own card really could be eco-friendly. Imagine, one day the expiry date may actually coincide with the card's biodegradation. Yves Poirer of the University of Lausanne, commenting on the research said: "There is a growing awareness that petroleum is a finite resource and that the indestructibility of plastics can be more of a nuisance than a benefit." Dismissing this work on the basis of it being simply a PR exercise is surely denouncing a technology that may address issues close to the heart of any environmentalist.