Compostable plastics come in various forms and are made in different ways. You can read all about compostable plastics here
Perhaps the most common are cellophane and PLA plastic. I would say (with absolutely no verifiable facts to back this up) that old school cellophane is now less popular than the new kid on the block, the starch derived Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). Read about PLA in detail here
I’m sure that there will be others in the future.
While most agree that some plastics are indeed biodegradable and compostable, many say that they can only composted in large scale municipal schemes. As we don’t have many large scale municipal schemes this they say is a pointless advantage.I say the days of large scale municipal schemes is fast approaching as governments aim to divert biodegradable rubbish from landfill sites.
But I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. Including Biobags , Deli pots and disposable Cutlery)
I have occasionally composted cellulose.
Both take longer than “natural” materials and sometimes I have found shreds in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.
The thicker the PLA the longer it takes. PLA Lined paper cups disappear in no time, the cutlery hung around for ages.
What is biodegradable?
Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here
What is compostable? To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades), and the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive. For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the European Norm EN13432. You can find out more here.
Read more about compostable plastics here
We have used and composted the following products.
Deli pots PLA
Waterproof plastic pots with lids are great for all manner of deli delights including
Deli counter lovelies
They can also be used to storefood in the freezer.
Disposable Cutlery for our big party PLA
We haven’t used these but sourced them FYI
The remains of my cellulose sponge cloths and the PLA wrapper they came in.
Greencane deliver toilet rolls are wrapped in cellophane, a compostable plastic. Which I compost. Find out more about Greencaneproducts here.
Companies using compostable plastic.
Our new innovative packaging, developed by Israeli start-up TIPA, is just as durable and impermeable as ordinary plastic – but it biologically decomposes within just 180 days and becomes a fertiliser for soil, behaving similarly to an orange peel. Read more here.
A while ago I got sent some Vegware stuff to review. Vegware make disposable, compostable packaging for the fast-food industry. Hooray for them …. but I am not in fast food. So what would I be using them for? For starters…
Eco For Life
If you must drink bottled water this might interest you; water packaged in PLA compostable plastic bottles
Remember, not all bio- plastics can be composted and some are not as green as they sound
Find out more about composting here