GREEN HOME’s food packaging is classified as green waste and is compostable together with other food waste. In a composting environment, it will break down (biodegrade) into its natural components of water, CO2 and plant matter.
Degradable, Biodegradable & Compostable
- Degradable: The ability to break up into smaller pieces. Degradable packaging products will not break down into their natural organic components, just smaller pieces of the original product.
- Biodegradable: The prefix “bio” refers to the way in which a product will degrade, in this case, via a biological process, bacteria, fungi etc. The product will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and biomass from the action of naturally occurring microorganisms. Green waste is biodegradable.
- Compostable: A product biodegrades within a time frame of 4 to 6 months. Green waste is compostable.
How long does it take to compost?
The main difference between biodegradable and compostable is the amount of time it takes for a product to break down into its natural components via biological processes. Most existing international standards require biodegradation of 60% within 180 days.
According to the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM), a plant plastic needs to meet three criteria in order to be classified compostable:
- Biodegrade: Break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper).
- Disintegrate: The material is indistinguishable in the compost.
- Eco-toxicity: The biodegradation does not produce any toxic material.
|PRODUCT||HOME COMPOSTING||COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING|
|Bagasse / Sugar Fibre: Plates, Takeaway Containers, Bowls, Cups etc.||2-4 Months||1-3 Months|
|PLA: Cold Cups, Deli Containers and Straws||6-12 Months||3-6 Months|
|PLA: Tasting Spoons and Utensils||12-24 Months||3-6 Months|
Estimated Composting Times: The rate of biodegradation for different compostable packaging products is dependent upon the composition and thickness of the material and composting conditions.
What is an industrial compost facility?
The rate of biodegradation depends on composting conditions, heat, moisture and microorganisms. An industrial compost facility reduces the amount of time it takes to compost green waste using controlled optimum conditions. In addition an industrial compost facility:
- Grinds the materials.
- Adds enzymes to enable the green waste to biodegrade faster.
- Turns over the piles.
- Maintains consistent high temperatures.
Home composting rates are slower and may vary, depending on how frequently the pile is turned over, material content, moisture and temperature.
- Compostable packaging biodegrades faster in a compost facility than in a landfill.
- Compost is a fantastic resource to feed and replenish soil and support plants.
- Prevents the release of methane gas into the atmosphere which may occur if green waste decomposes in a landfill.