Let's face it , it's all a bit confusing as how do you navigate your way through all this green washing , well the answer is knowing the facts, so below is the answer to the most common questions we get asked.
Just for fun we thought it would be good if we had a test ( don't worry it's purely optional) for all the people who want to stay after class you can take a test for fun at the end and if you not interested, then all the answers to your compostable questions are below.
Let's Talk Compostable Section
"Are all of your products compostable, including the plasticky looking ones?"
It never made sense to us that anyone should produce a temporary product like food packaging which is designed for a single use out of materials that are designed to last hundreds of years ( in some cases much longer) so the simplest solution is to make them from plants so when they are disposed of ( if disposed of correctly) can be used to grow more plants, it's circular and means their usage actually benefits the environment, so 100% of our products are made from plants.
"What's the best way of disposing of them?"
This is really up to you and depends how the end user disposes of them but all of them have a carbon saving and are good for the planet, so there is no downside but it is worth noting that some disposal methods have a much better environmental outcome than others.
Commercial Food Waste Collection - This is by the far the best option as it saves an average of 58.69kg of carbon ( which would take a tree 876 days to absorb), it removes the need for nasty chemical fertilisers and is completely circular and breaks down in under 13 weeks into smashing nutrient rich compost, we have only worked out the carbon saved up to disposal but it's all get so complex with some many variables working out carbon saved after disposal, that the above figure is up to disposal so the carbon saving is much more.
Home Composter - A great choice for when the packaging arrives at the home and we have tested our packaging in home composting and we have had decomposition within 8 months but it really does come down to how healthy your composter is as healthy composters have a much better soil food web so times do vary from 6 months to 2 years.
General Waste - Don't worry , this isn't the best option but it's also ok as plant based packaging that ends up in the general waste have still saved a lot of carbon and cause no harm so if your in an area that is sending things to landfill ( it's hard to believe this still goes on but sadly it does) or it will end up in one of the new Energy For Waste facilities (EFW) and is incinerated to create green energy and they don't leech or emit any harmful toxic emissions.
"Is composting better than recycling?"
The simple answer is yes but like most things it's a little bit more complex.
There is rare examples that are better recycled , it's why we don't make a replacement for the aluminium can, it's the best material for the job and can be easily recycled but this is one of the few examples because in most cases composting is always the best environmental option.
"What are the benefits of composting?"
There are a lot of examples , typically are products save an average of 56.89kg (and a lot more if added to food waste collections ) when compared to petrol based plastics (that would take a tree 986 days to absorb that much carbon) but there are a lot more.
If the product is composted it can be used to fertiliser land to grow more plants and just as importantly it's taking a chemical based product ( that has huge environmental issues in their own respect) and replacing it with a plant waste product.
There is also examples of compost being used to reduce flooding as compost holds 2.5 times more water than standard soil.
The other overlooked benefit is it fits in with modern living , it removes barrier solutions ( things that add complications) like re-usable straws , cups and containers and the end result is , it's good for the planet ( something that can't be said for a number of these re-usable barrier solutions).
The only downside is the worlds waste industries just haven't caught up and not all of them correctly process compostable packaging but, which is why we recommend using a company like First Mile who have an exceptional track record in processing compostable packaging to achieve their best environmental benefit.
"So do I need to have food waste collection to use your products?"
No you can add them to your general waste and one of two things will happen to them.
They will be sent to an energy from waste facility and incinerated to create electricity and because they are made of plant they won't release toxic emissions but will create clean and greener electricity.
They will be sent to landfill (thankfully this is becoming less and less common) and as they are made of plants, they won't damage the environment but they will take a bit longer to break down in a layered landfill environment ( no research has been done on how long but our estimates are two years).
Let's Talk Materials Section
"So what are they made of?"
We use a few different materials but the vast majority of our products contain one or more of the following and all of them are plant based (You can find our more here).
Polylatic Acid (PLA) - Made from waste generated from the corn industry.
Bagasse - Made from the waste generated from the sugar industry.
Sustainable Paper - This paper comes from a certified (typically FSC™) responsibly managed forest and for every tree felled , another is planted.
Recycled Paper - This is paper that comes from recycled stock.
Waste Not - This is our latest material and it comes from plant waste of mixed type and is a recycled waste product and it's pretty amazing.
The Marine Section
"What happens if they end up in the sea?"
The simple fact is there really is no reason why they should end up in the sea but if this happened (not sure why they would but it's worth thinking about) they will take much longer to break down, we don't know how long and more research needs to be done to get a definitive answer but our belief ( let's remember this is a personal opinion as no research exists) is that as they are made from plant that marine life will ingest them without any harm.
The simple fact is without research we just can't be certain what the effects is , so the simple solution is just don't throw them away in the sea.
"So marine plastics is this something we are responsible for ?"
The fact is we are all responsible as the picture below shows the main culprits of marine dumping being in the Far East, but the western world is responsible for shipping our waste half way around the world for others to deal with and because we were all had a throw and forget mentality no one ever checked what these countries were doing with it, so sadly we are all responsible but some more than others.
I think I've got it
So here we are at the test part so if you want to take our I'm Compostable Savvy test and announce to the world "you can't fool me with all this OXO nonsense as I know my bagasse from my PLA" and we will email you a lovely printable certificate you can show off to your customers, work mates, some fella outside the chip shop called Dave, literally whoever you want.