Posted on Leave a comment

How Long Till it’s Gone?

A bagasse bowl at three stages of biodegradation

We often get asked: ‘How long do your products take to break down?’

The Quick Answer
All of our products are compostable and will break down in roughly 2 – 12 weeks in composting conditions.

The Detailed Answer
This is a bit more complex. It depends. Mostly, on what a product is made from, and where it ends up.

Here’s a thought experiment to try. Imagine different biodegradable things – a newspaper, a pizza and an apple, for example. And then imagine how each of those would start to break down if left in different conditions for a week or so. What would happen if they were outside in the rain, or under a hot sun, or on a shelf in the fridge?

We’ve all experienced how some materials get soggy and fall apart in water, and others react more like a duck’s back. And we know some things will wilt or dry out in the sun, and that cold temperatures slow break down.

So it is with our products.

How fast they break down will depend on what the material is, and the moisture, heat and oxygen present. And there is one more crucial factor – the presence of tiny microscopic organisms (aka microbes), like bacteria and fungi.

Microbes do much of the heavy lifting when it comes to breaking organic materials down. And they’re the main reason we keep food in the fridge – they’re less active in the cold. Microbes are present everywhere, particularly in healthy soil. But, if you’re looking for a good amount of good microbes, nothing beats composting.

Composting: The Best Solution

Composting creates optimal conditions for breaking down organic materials. These conditions are moist and warm with plenty of oxygen, which ensures there will be plenty of good microbes present.

The basic recipe for creating optimal composting conditions is mixing carbon-rich ‘brown’ materials, which tend to be dry, with nitrogen-rich ‘green’ materials, which tend to be moist. This creates balanced conditions in which organic materials break down very quickly.

Compostbrowns
Compostgreens

Moisture + heat + oxygen = all influence how quickly a product biodegrades.

Composting turns waste into nourishment for the soil, in a perfect waste-free loop.

This is why composting is such an ideal solution for organic waste, and what we always recommend for our products – and ALL organic waste.

Our vision is for a South Africa in which all organic waste is diverted from landfill and recycled via composting, or another organic recycling method.

That way, our products will not only break down as quickly as possible, but will also return valuable nutrients to soil.

We’ve run lots of composting trials on our products. You can read more about some of those here, and here, and here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *