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Vegware Fast Food Packaging

A while ago I got sent some Vegware stuff to review. Vegware make disposable compostable packaging from PLA plastic for the fast food industry. Hooray for them.
If you don’t know what PLA starch polymer is, read this
Basically it is a compostable plastic that comes in many different forms as you will see and can be used as a water proof lining for paper cups.

…. but I am not in fast food. So what would I be using them for? For starters…

PLA POTS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, I take my own PLA compostable plastic deli pots to the supermarket when I need olives and humus and the like. PLA plastic looks and acts just like plastic but is made from corn starch rather than oil. Not only is this a renewable resource, it is also compostable  and, as Vegware say,”This annually-renewable eco-material has a carbon footprint 78% lower in manufacture than oil-based PET plastic, and these carbon savings are reflected in our Eco Audits.”

I can confirm that Vegware PLA pots are just as good. for shopping. They sent me a great range of shapes and sizes so I was able to expand my experience – even venturing into the ready-made salad bar at Morrisons. I have never done that as I have never had a PLA pot big enough!

The only thing I cannot find a use for is the flat black trays but that is probably because I don’t sell salami.

Because you cannot wash PLA in really hot water,(it melts), I use a new PLA pot every time I go shopping. However I reuse the old ones to freeze food I know I am going to heat up hot. The Vegware rectangular dishes are great for storing decent size portions in the freezer.

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The PLA pots end up in my compost bin. Many folk say that you can only compost PLA in industrial composting facilities. I manage just fine with my back yard bin!

But if for some reason you cannot compost PLA pots yourself, Vegware do a great alternative – paper / PLA lined pots. These are not nearly as long-lasting and can only be used once in the freezer . Basically they  fall apart much more quickly.

I cannot see anyone having a problem with composting these.

Paper/PLA lined cups and pots

I also got sent a whole load of paper tubs and cups with compostable, plastic liners with compostable sippy lids and some with built-in heat shields so you don’t burn your hands. If you have a takeaway service these would be great. Also good for parties,

I don’t entertain like that but I do make lots of home-made beauty products. These are great for samples and super useful for presents.

You know how it is you forgot Valentines day again but lucky you have a cupboard full of Shea Butter, essential oils and cocoa.

In no time at all you have whipped up a sensuous chocolate body mousse from your 91/2 weeks range. Grab a vegware paper pot and a felt tip and you have a personalised gift. For sure the drawings could have been better but I only had a Sharpy and a highlighter pen. Needs must….

You can see more on chocolate love mousse soon

 Bags, sheets and wrappings

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also got sent a load of bags and wrappings. I am a big fan of taking my own bags shopping. It is the only way you can really shop plastic free. However,  I was so impressed with the gift potential of Vegware products, I have used the bags for other things. The last few days has seen me experimenting with wrapping and passing on all manner of things to surprised recipients.

For instance I bought a block of solid shampoo. It works pretty well but tends to be a bit sweaty. If you cut it and  leave it overnight it oozes and sticks so you cannot wrap it in normal paper. Hurrah for Vegware, shiny, plasticky see through bags.The brown greaseproof paper (?) is pretty good too.

My moisturising rose and lavender salt scrub is oily and moist but can be packed in the paper and PLA bag and safely left.

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Finally that is a crystal rock deodorant in the see through bag – just because I can!

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The brown Kraft carrier bags are just cute and make super quick wrapping / sweet gift bags. Again, the artistically inclined could personalise these.

More ideas to follow but if you feel inspired, you can check out the Vegware range here  range of fantastic products here….

 

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Compostable plastic products we use

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.

Composting Plastic 

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  (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery).
I have occasionally composted cellulose.
Both take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

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.


PLA Compostable Plastic Bags

These disposable, water-resistant bags are great for
fish and meat
Frozen foodstuffs and freezer bags.

Deli pots PLA

Waterproof plastic pots with lids are great for all manner of deli delights including
Cream cheese
Olives
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

Straws PLA
Dog poo bags PLA


The remains of my cellulose sponge cloths and the PLA wrapper they came in.

Toilet Rolls

Greencane deliver toilet rolls are wrapped in cellophane, a compostable plastic. Which I compost. Find out more about Greencaneproducts here.

Companies using compostable plastic.

Snact

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.

Vegware
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

More

Remember, not all bio- plastics can be composted and some are not as green as they sound

Find out more about composting here

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Compostable Plastic & Composting Standards

Biodegradable means …..

Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism, such as fungi or bacteria over a period of time.

They must degrade into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem.

More about biodegrading here

Compostable means…..To be classed compostable, items must

  • Biodegrade within a certain time (around the rate at which paper biodegrades.)
  • The resulting particles must be very small
  • The resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive.

compostable logo

Composting Standards

For a man-made product to be sold as compostable, it has to meet certain standards. One such is the

European Norm EN13432

  • This is a EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/EC), EN 13432:2000 – “Packaging: requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation”
  • It was introduced in 2000.
  • It has been adopted by the UK and is published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution.

Comprehensive evidence has to be submitted before a product gets ‘compostable’ certification.

HOWEVER compostable in this instance means that these products will break down in an industrial composter. Therefore, while a product might be classed as both biodegradable and compostable, it might not break down in a backyard bin.

home-compostbak

Vinçotte, a Belgian accredited inspection and certification organisation,  provide a home composting certification service. Products that display the ‘OK Compost Home’ logo, can go in your bin.

 

 

The Association for Organics Recycling is working to establish a similar specification for the UK.

So, to conclue, compostable products must break down into carbon dioxide, water, and compost.

There are legally enforced standards by which you can measure the compostability of a product.

To be sure you are getting a compostable plastic get one that has been certified

Please note, biodegradable plastic does not always mean compostable. Sometimes it means the plastic product has an addative that helps it break apart more quickly.

One type of compostable plastic is made from Poly Lactic Acid (PLA). Find out about PLA plastic here

While most agree that PLA plastic is compostable, many say that it can only composted in large scale municipal schemes.

As we don’t have many large scale municipal schemes, this is,they go on to say, 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.

Besides which, have been composting my PLA plastic for years. Biobags, deli pots and cutlery have gone into my bin and been transformed into mulch for the roses.

WHY COMPOST

reasons to start composting .

Try one of these compost bins for come & garden

Useful stuff to know

Why leaves rot – How Biodegrading Works

Why most plastics dont -t Why Plastic Doesnt Rot

What is PLA (poly lactic acid) plastic

Remember, not all bio- plastics can be composted and do not biodegrade – bioplastics dont mean biodegradable.

Yup its confusing but try everything you ever wanted to know about plastic.but were too scared to ask, to find out a lot more about plastic.

Boycott Plastic

Inspired to give up plastic? Check these plastic-free products. Use them then compost them.

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Polylactic acid, (PLA)

There are some truly biodegradable and compostable bioplastics.
Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism into simple, stable compounds which can be absorbed into the ecosystem. More about biodegrading here.
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.

Compostable Plastics – PLA

Polylactic acid, (PLA), plastic is an example of a biodegradable bioplastic. PLA or polylactide was discovered in 1932 by Carothers (at DuPont). (Whats a bioplastic? Find out here)

PLA is a bio-polymer
Bio-polymers can be produced from natural resources
A natural bio-polymers is one that is extracted directly from biological raw materials such as cellulose and cotton from plants, wool from sheep and silk from moths
Man made bio-polymers are also derived from plants but then further treated using chemicals.

Poly-lactic acid (PLA), falls into this category.
PLA is made from the starch found in plants including beets, sugar cane, and tapioca.. Starch is a natural polymer, a white, granular carbohydrate produced by plants during photosynthesis Starch can be made into bio-plastic. However when exposed to water starch bio-plastic swells and deforms.To stop this happening the starch needs to be modified

Starch is transformed into PLA by;
1) Using microorganisms to transform it into a lactic acid – a monomer
2) Then chemically treating the lactic acid to create a long chain polymer, polylactic acid – PLA

There are several different types of Polylactic Acid
Racemic PLLA (Poly-L-lactic Acid),
Regular PLLA (Poly-L-lactic Acid),
PDLA (Poly-D-lactic Acid),
and PDLLA (Poly-DL-lactic Acid).

Recycling

PLA can be recycled back into lactic acid and used to make products of the same quality as the original- there is no down-cycling. Currently only recycled in Wisconsin and Belgium.

Biodegradable

PLA products biodegrade into water, carbon dioxide and organic materials. and so can be composted.

“First, the moisture and heat in the compost pile split the polymer chains apart, creating smaller polymers, and finally, lactic acid. Micro-organisms in compost and soil consume the smaller polymer fragments and lactic acid as nutrients. Since lactic acid is widely found in nature, a large number of organisms metabolize lactic acid.  The end result of composting is carbon dioxide, water and humus, a soil nutrient.  This degradation process is temperature and humidity dependent. “
In commercial composters this should take about 30-45 days. In home composting bins it might take longer. Obviously the bulkier the product the harder it is to break down, and the longer it takes.

Rotting Away

a PLA bottle left in the ocean will biodegrade in six to 24 months.
It can be used for medical implants that biodegrade over time

NB PLA will not compost in landfill.

Composting PLA Plastic At Home
While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it 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.
Moreover I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted the following PLA plastic products ( including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery  )

The Rest

Are PLA products safe to eat?
People …PLA products are not edible yet are generally non-toxic. Small pieces of PLA will most likely pass harmlessly through the gastrointestinal tract. Once passed through the gastrointestinal tract it will be eliminated in the stool. 
Pigs …PLA can apparently be returned to the food chain. I have heard it suggested that you can feed it to your pig. Please double check.
I am allergic to corn; could I still use PLA products?
Yes, the heat used in the process of deriving the starch from corn destroys the immunologically reactive profiilin. Profilin is the chemical that usually causes an allergic reaction and is not found in PLA products.

Burning PLA Plastic
PLA will not emit toxic fumes when incinerated.

Useful stuff to know

Remember, not all bio- plastics can be composted and some are not as green as they sound
Find out about composting here.

PLA products I use  

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Water Bottled

We are always on the look out for new and greener plastics and these PLA bottles caught our eye. Personally I think bottled water is a scam. Why pay good money for that you can get for free? But if you should choose to go down that route, it seems a  shame that such a decision should also result in a landfill site  of non-biodegradable, plastic bottles.

There are of course compostable, biodegradable plastics – one such is PLA. But for  years PLA  was not considered up to the job of beverage bottle. You can read more about PLA plastic here.

The following would seem to disprove that theory….

From the website… Eco for life bottles are made from Polylactic acid, PLA for short.
During the production process, we produce 60% less greenhouse gases and use 50% less fossil fuels.

Will bio-degrade ✘ No, takes up to 1000 years Yes, in an industrial composter
Made from ✘ Oil Annually renewable plants
Leaches harmful chemicals into water ✘ Yes No
Can be recycled ✘ Yes, but down-cycled and always ends up in landfill Yes, and can be re-cycled into a whole new bottle, never ending in landfill
Releases harmful toxins when incinerated ✘ Yes No
Greenhouse gases savings during production ✘– Approx. 60%
Oil saved ✘– Approx. 1 litre for every 24 bottles

N.B. I still don’t know if the screw top lids are PLA plastic.

Composting PLA Plastic

Back to me…. While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it 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.

Moreover I have been composting my PLA plastic for years.

We have used and composted the following PLA plastic products ( including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery  )

Useful stuff to know

Remember, not all bio- plastics can be composted and some are not as green as they sound

See all PLA related posts here

Refillable Bottles

But why create any waste at all if you can avoid it? Get yourself a refillable bottle, use the tap, save money all round. Find bottles, refill places and other water related information here….

 

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Straws Compostable

The picture shows a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose (You can watch the video in full here). Every years hundreds of thousand plastic straws end up polluting the environment. Ecocycle estimate that 500 million straws are used in the US every day alone.

If you must have disposable straws, (and none of these great reusable options suit), then why not try these compostable ones made from cornstarch. They look and act  just like  plastic straws…  but they are made from PLA cornstarch and are certified compostable.

Find out more about compostable plastic here.

You can buy them from Vegware. They do everything from black cocktail (1000 for 10.00)  to jumbo smoothie.

I have seen  paper straws on ebay but (as far as I know), they are not certified compostable and  may be plastic lined. They certainly are plastic packed.

Any one know any more?

Composting

One type of certified compostable plastic is  Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) plastic.

Some say that PLA plastics do not break down in home compost bins. THEY ARE WRONG. We have used and composted a number of  PLA plastic products.

You can see the PLA products we have used here.

More

Or you can try these  reusable stainless steel beauties or glass straws. 

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Toilet Roll

For a long time the only plastic free toilet paper I could find was Isal Medicated. It is extremely hard more like greaseproof paper with a shiny almost waterproof finish. Obviously this makes it extremely uncomfortable to use in a number of ways. Still I was prepared to use the beastly stuff till I went to buy in bulk and found the paper wrapped rolls were shrink filmed in plastic. Damned if I am going to suffer scratches if the rolls are not in fact plastic free.

Loose

However if you are prepared to buy loose, try your corner shop.Here in Huddersfield  Khadims sell loose toilets rolls very cheap.

Compostable Packaging

Eco Leaf Toilet Tissue.

Supplied by the good folks at Suma ( a workers cooperative), it comes in a 100% cornstarch compostable wrap called Bioplast. Just so you know, Bioplast is certified to EN 13432 and confirms to the European OK Compost Standard. Made of potato starch it is similar to biobags I am guessing. The rolls themselves are 100% recycled paper and Suma donate some of their profits to www.treesponsibility.com.

If you live in Huddersfield you can buy these at Half Moon Health Foods. Address: 6 Half Moon Street Huddersfield West Yorkshire HD1 2JJ. Region: Yorkshire & The Humber. Telephone: 01484 456392 .
Or you can buy it on line from the Ethical Superstore.

£1.99 for four.

Plastic Spoiler
Plus I have heard reports that if you buy in bulk it comes in a plastic bag!

Greencane

Will deliver toilets rolls in a cardboard box.

Each box contains
Total 48 rolls
12 packs of 4 rolls.
Each roll 300 sheets, 2 ply.
UK £23.80 per carton.

The rolls are wrapped in cellophane, a compostable plastic.

Find out more about Greencaneproducts here.

To order products  visit the website

Composting Plastic At Home
While most agree that some  plastics are indeed 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.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

Biodegradable, Compostable Plastics

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

More Info

You can find other ways to wipe here….

And you might like these other health & hygiene posts

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Meat & Fish

You want flesh…. you want it now. Sadly you are not a Zombie so you  have to use the normal channels.
Shops – where so much of the meat comes plastic packed. So what to do?

First find some unpacked meat or fish.
Sadly butchers and fish mongers are becoming rarer and I would urge you to support your local shop if you have one. Need to find a butcher – try this site.
But if you don’t a lot a supermarkets have fish and meat counters.

Having sourced the meat you now have 2 options

Bring your own reusable container or tub
I take my own tub to the butchers and ask them to use that. I use a plastic tub because it is water proof, lightweight, I have had them for ages and there is lots of wear in them yet.
If you are worried about chemical leaching you might not want to use plastic tubs. As you know, if you wash plastic at hot enough temperatures to clean the container properly, it is more likely to leach chemicals. And that plastic leaches more chemicals as it ages.
You can get metal or glass dishes and use those instead. Glass is heavy so I would recommend metal dishes.

Disposable Bags

And some times, it doesn’t matter what I take, I get refusals.Supermarkets especially are not keen on this and will argue long and hard. Even some local butchers will refuse. Their argument is if there was a bug in the tub that made you sick, their product might be blamed.
Keep calm and read on.
After being turned away from a supermarket meat counter I decided to see what they did in Modbury the plastic bag free town. Modbury is as as I am sure you know, the first town in the UK to go plastic bag free. I spoke to the lovely Simon Wilkinson – the Modbury butcher. He told me he used biodegradable  corn starch bags made from PLA plastic  -made from vegetables they are fully compostable.
So I went online and got myself some 6 litre bio bags, the right size for a medium size chicken.

Buy 

Since then compostable PLA bags have become available everywhere. You can buy them in most supermarkets and there are lots of online shops to choose from. There are more details here on what bag to buy and from where.

Disposing Of Bags

I recommend finding reuses for your disposable packaging, (for example using the bio bags to line your compost bin). And then I compost them.

NB Some say that PLA plastic bags do not break down in home compost bins. THEY ARE WRONG. We have used and composted bio bags for years now.

Compostable? 

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.

Composting PLA Plastic At Home

While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it 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.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

Read more about compostable plastics here

Greenwashing

And never forget that bio-degradable plastic bags do not biodegrade where as compostable plastic bags do compost. Not all bio-plastics (plant derived plastics) are compostable. Read more here.

More
Need to find a butcher – try this site.
Other plastic free packaging

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Cutlery – disposable & compostable

Though it’s not the greenest option there are times when disposable partyware is the only choice. For our last big bash, some years ago now, we bought disposable cutlery made from PLA compostable plastic. It is just like normal plastic cutlery, tough and hard wearing. So much so it can be washed and reused – at least we do… and are still doing so.
The cutlery is really useful for picnics and outdoor parties. We always leave stuff behind and we don’t feel too bad about loosing this.

We got ours from Denny’s. They also do compostable straws, plates and glasses. In fact everything you need for entertaining.

Since we bought, a lot more companies have started to offer compostable party ware and new products are appearing all the time. It would be worth looking around.

Composting
There are those who say you cannot compost PLA plastic in home composters. We did. The knives did biodegrade. It took some time but it happened. However we do have a Green Joanna, the queen of compost bins.

Renting
We rented the extra stuff we needed for the party from a catering company . We probably could have hired cutlery too but we were curious to try the cornstarch stuff.

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PLA Starch Bags – compostable plastic bags.

PLA starch bags are described as a compostable plastic.Which can be confusing as they are a very different product from conventional, oil-derived plastics. Many people dismiss the compostable claim despite them being certified compostable  See plastics and introduction for more on this.
PLA plastic  is made  from plant-based materials such as corn starch. You can find about more about starch derived plastics here .
Once again they are compostable and certified as such.

Same, same but different?

PLA bags are almost but not quite the same as conventional plastic bags. However they share enough similarities to make them a very useful substitute and can be a great tool in your plastic free armoury.
They are not quite as strong as conventional plastic bags so are not good as carrier bags but they are water proof for a limited amount of time, ( eventually there is seepage), but you can certainly use them to carry fish or meat home. 
They are compostable and despite what folks might say they can be composted in a garden compost bin. Read more about PLA and composting here

Biobags & Others
One example of PLA bags is sold by the company Biobags. Back in the early days they were amongst the first to sell  in the U.K. They have very good credentials. Their bags are certified to BS N13432 standard and are manufactured sustainably at facilities certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. BioBag is the world’s largest brand of certified biodegradable and compostable bags and films made from Mater-Bi®. Biobags are the bags used in Modbury the plastic free town.

These days many companies make and sell PLA bags and you can buy the from supermarkets.

NB do check you bag is certified compostable.

Compostable? 

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.

What For & Which Size?

I use them for
fish and meat – (I ask that they use my bag instead of a plastic bag).
Buying loose frozen foodstuffs … yes you can frozen peas loose!
As freezer bags.

If you can get it, I find the 6 liter size best to take shopping. The 8 litre is obviously bin liner size, and eyebrows are raised when you ask to have your steak put in a bin liner..

Buy

PLA bags  can be bought from most big supermarkets. Biobags and other PLA bags can be found in hundreds of online shops  including Amazon & Ebay. Some suppliers are listed here.

Composting PLA Plastic At Home

While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it 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.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

Read more about compostable plastics here

More

Find loose food outlets listed on the loose foods list
Other kinds of useful, plastic free bags are listed  here.

Greenwashing

And never forget that bio-degradable plastic bags do not biodegrade where as compostable plastic bags do compost. Not all bio-plastics (plant derived plastics) are compostable. Read more here.

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Pots – PLA compostable

These  deli pots are  made from  PLA plastic. This looks and acts just like plastic but is made from corn starch rather than oil. Not only is this a renewable resource, it is also  compostable 

I have bought  two size of pots ( with lids), specifically made to serve food portions,  which I take to the shops with me and use instead of the plastic pots provided.

I use them for
Olives
Humus
Potato salad
Pate
and anything else that takes my fancy.

I use them in supermarkets, farmers markets and anywhere that sells loose.

My Pots

The 350 ml (Big enough to hold a jar of Tesco olives)
The 500 ml (Big enough for a jar of beetroot)

Please note – the lids fit securely but are not completely waterproof – you might need to put the pots in a cornstarch bag for additional security.

More

The pots are really sturdy and don’t as you might imagine start biodegrading the minute you use them. For instance, I use them keep my home-made cosmetic cream in – months later there is still no sign of disintegration.

You can wash them but they do melt in hot water so cannot be washed at temperatures hot enough to sterilise. For this reason I would recommend that you take a new pot with you every time you go shopping.However that  need not stop you reusing them around the house. I recycle them as freezer pots , use them for sprouting seeds, growing cress and other garden based activities of which more later.

Find out more about PLA here

Suppliers

You can buy pots at various places on-line, they have started appearing on Ebay and there are some very good deals on Amazon

I bought mine from WF Dennys – very cheap but minimum purchase 100.

Vegware do a great range of shapes and sizes and will sell smaller amounts.

Compostable? 

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.

Composting PLA Plastic At Home

While most agree that PLA plastic is indeed compostable, many say that it 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.
AND I have been composting my PLA plastic for years. We have used and composted a number PLA plastic products (including Biobags , Deli pots  and disposable Cutlery)
It does take longer than other products and  sometimes I have found shreds of it in my compost but I dig it into the soil where it quickly disappears.

Read more about compostable plastics here

Greenwashing

And never forget that bio-degradable plastic bags do not biodegrade where as compostable plastic bags do compost. Not all bio-plastics (plant derived plastics) are compostable. Read more here.