For greenfingered subscribers

Subscribers to CR can use the packaging that the February issue comes in to grow their own tomatoes

Subscribers to CR can use the packaging that the February issue comes in to grow their own tomatoes

Subscriber copies of the February isssue of CR come in a compostable bag. You can bury the bag in the garden and it will decompose harmlessly. But to give readers an added incentive, we have included a packet of tomato seeds (courtesy of image library Stock Food – thank you) in each one.

The idea is, that if you follow the instructions on the reverse of the bag, you can start to grow your tomatoes in your studio or home in the bag provided. Then, come the spring, you can transplant your seedlings, bag and all, to the garden, where the bag will decompose into the soil.

All you need to do is to remove the magazine and cut off the glue strip. Then form the bag into a sack by rolling it down. Fill this with soil/compost and sprinkle in your seeds. Then plant it out when you are ready.

The bag is made from Harmless-Compost, part of a range of compostable packaging products from Cyberpac. Over the past few months, CR has been working with Cyberpac to provide different and, we hope, interesting packaging for the magazine. This has included the envelope that could be made into a Monograph binder, static cling prints from the Photography Annual, an envelope that turned into a Christmas tree and, of course, the dissolvable bag that our November issue came in.

When we did the dissolvable bag, we had a number of comments from people querying various aspects of the process. In the light of those, here are a few points to bear in mind about this one. Please read before posting:

*The bag is for subscriber issues only. You won’t find it on the newsstand. As with everything that goes through the post, we need to put the magazine in some form of packaging before sending it out – both to protect it and to give us somewhere to put address and postage information. Sending magazines through the mail without any packaging at all is not an option.

*This, as with the other things we have done with Cyberpac, is just an experiment as we explore our options for sending out the magazine in a more environmentally friendly, and interesting, way than the standard polybag. We are discussing long-term solutions with Cyberpac. We are also aware that the bags that the magazine go out in are just part of the production process of the magazine. There are all manner of other areas to look at (ink, paper, water, transport etc) – as we documented in our April 2007 issue.

* No, you don’t have to go through the whole rigmarole of growing tomatoes in your bag. You can just bury it somewhere. We just thought it might be fun.

* Yes, the inks used on the bag are biodegradable.

* From Cyberpac; “To be classed ‘compostable’, a material must meet the stringent EN 13432 standard. The testing process involves mixing the material with organic waste and leaving it for 12 weeks under commercial composting conditions.

After this time the material must show evidence of being biodegraded due to microbial action. This means breaking down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass, rather than just breaking up into pieces, as degradable oil-based plastics do. To meet the standard, less than 10% of the remaining fragments are allowed to be larger than two millimetres.

The composted material is then tested for toxicity, to make sure it’s suitable to grow food crops. Finally, it’s sown with summer barley to check that it will support plant life.”

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