“Wal-Mart and others are going green with “biodegradable” packaging made from corn. But is this really the answer to America’s throwaway culture?”
Elizabeth Royte in Smithsonian Magazine:
Thirty minutes north of Omaha, outside Blair, Nebraska, the aroma of steaming corn—damp and sweet—falls upon my car like a heavy curtain. The farmland rolls on, and the source of the smell remains a mystery until an enormous, steam-belching, gleaming-white architecture of tanks and pipes rises suddenly from the cornfields between Route 75 and the flood plain of the Missouri River. Behold NatureWorks: the largest lactic-acid plant in the world. Into one end of the complex goes corn; out the other come white pellets, an industrial resin poised to become—if you can believe all the hype—the future of plastic in a post-petroleum world.