Saturday, December 05, 2009

Does Compostable Foodware Really Decompose In Landfills?

Bioplastics are nice because they don't come from petrochemicals, and if taken to a compost facility, they can be composted.

However, as this paper points out, they do NOT decompose faster than regular plastics in the landfill, so tossing them into the garbage isn't going to make too much of a difference in terms of landfill space:

The Degradability Myth
Why Diversion Makes More Sense

The Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) does not pull any punches in their paper "Biodegradation Won't Solve the Landfill Crunch".

EPIC has graciously allowed us to reprint this paper that explains why evidence from North American landfills supports their case that biodegradable anything in a landfill does not extend landfill space or ever go away.

The bottom line here is that if you really want to reduce waste in the landfill, you need to divert as much as possible from the garbage bin.

Make sure your compostable food waste makes it into your compost bin.  If you use bioplastics (e.g., cups, utensils, plates), remember that they decompose at higher temperatures than food waste, so need to go to a compost facility if you want them to be truly composted.

Read the full paper>>

No comments:

Post a Comment