Single-use: we all know the challenges, but let’s explore a compostable solution. Even with a major shift to reusables, some disposables will always be needed. When the Wright brothers invented the aeroplane, there were no airports, and look at air infrastructure now. By choosing compostables, foodservice businesses can actively drive change in recycling. Here’s why businesses should consider going compostable.
What’s the point of disposables being compostable?
Compostable disposables are designed to be recycled in an industrial composting facility together with food waste. That means there’s no need for sorting, and the compostable cup, lid, burger box, knife and napkin can all go together without removing the ketchup and leftover chips. An extra bonus is that once food and disposables share one bin, other dry recycling bins are cleaner and easier to recycle.Compostability isn’t best for all situations. For example, We wouldn’t make compostable water bottles, as PET plastic already has a developed recycling infrastructure. But for food-contaminated disposables, compostability is a sensible solution.
How do compostables solve food contamination?
Combining plastic and card in foodservice packaging creates massive recycling challenges, as highlighted by the recent coffee cup recycling debate. Food contamination is inevitable, so the result is incineration or landfill. For disposables destined for serving food, it makes sense to use materials that can be recycled together with food. With compostable disposables, food isn’t contamination, it’s a vital ingredient in the composting process.
What’s the difference between biodegradable and compostable?
Same process, different breakdown speeds. Forget the term biodegradable, as it tells us nothing about timescales (wood is biodegradable, but a log cabin can stand for generations). Compostable means something can break down in under 12 weeks and is therefore suitable for industrial composting. Make sure your disposables supplier has compostability certification – that’s the real guarantee.
What are composting conditions?
Compostable packaging needs to be in composting conditions in order to compost. Industrial composting creates the perfect balance of microbes, moisture and warmth, so that compostable packaging can be included in food waste recycling. Home composting conditions vary with the skill of the householder, so we don’t make any claims there, but there have been successful trials using hot compost bins.
How can composting reduce floods?!
Composting is a form of recycling which keeps resources here in this country, unlike much plastic and paper which is exported far overseas with no guarantee of it actually being recycled. Compost returns nutrients to the soil, and has the added benefit of improving soil structure, reducing the risk of floods.