Biodegradable_droneRegular readers of our blog know that we try to write about subjects that are very top of mind.  But how to write an advertising blog about surveillance and snooping?  Thankfully the University of Queensland in Australia has provided the answer – biodegradable drones.  A team of researchers there have created two drones – one shaped like a paper airplane and the other like the pod for maple seeds (or a double samara or whirligig, depending upon how scientific you are) – that are made of cellulose and are intended to help monitor the risks of forest fires.  Under the FTC’s Green Guides, products that are labeled “biodegradable” must degrade under conditions of customary disposal within a “reasonably short period of time.” Which begs the question, how are drones customarily disposed of – do they get dumped into some type of landfill or are they scattered over the landscape, either as the result of a malfunction or the actions of some hostile party?  Left out on the ground, cellulose might well degrade in a reasonably short period of time, but the Green Guides take the view that with respect to landfills nothing that is disposed in them will degrade within a reasonably short period of time so that unqualified “biodegradable” claims for such products is misleading.  Perhaps what we need is a landfill drone to observe whether and how long it takes for landfill garbage to degrade.