More About Composting
What is Composting?
Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter by providing an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms to do their work. The resulting decomposed matter is called compost. Compost is rich in nutrients and wonderful for your garden.
Composting can be processed in industrial-scale composting facilities, in smaller-scale community composting systems, and in your own backyard, among other options. We want to help spread education around composting in hopes that it will become more common practice in our communities.
Can I compost this?
You’ve purchased something from the store that says it’s compostable, but it only mentions “industrial facilities”, and you wonder if you can compost it at home…
Currently all products certified compostable in the U.S. will say something about “Industrial Compost Facilities” because currently there are no Home Compostable Certifications in the States. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to compost it at home.
For example, the GreenPods® we manufacture are made from materials that are all certified compostable by the standards in the US which are based on conditions in Industrial Compost Facilities. However, we compost our GreenPods in our own backyard, and a local business Compost RVA, composts all of our GreenPod manufacturing scraps.
These certifications, and industrial composting test standards, are in place to keep companies from making false claims about “green” products and that’s GOOD. But the wording can sometimes confuse the end consumer and discourage the individual from trying to compost at home, which is what we want to combat. The more we can educate ourselves on composting and it’s many benefits, the more mainstream the practice will become, which is GOOD for the whole planet!
So how do I compost at home?
Composting at home can be very simple, but when deciding on your methods, you should consider a few factors.
- Where you live /available space?
- How much time you have for composting?
- The amount and type of materials you plan to compost
- Do you have enough “browns” for your pile?
We like using a Hot Method in either a pile or a purchased compost container designed to help you with the process. After learning a bit about “greens” and “browns” ratios, you’ll be on your way. And if properly managed, your compost will not smell awful, and the heat produced will kill off any weeds and bad stuff. The heat produced by your pile is the key to breaking down sturdy products such as compostable cutlery.
Click HERE for more info.
Detailed guide from Cornell University HERE
Is that plastic?
You’ve probably seen compostable cutlery in restaurants trying to reduce their single use plastic waste and thought, this looks like plastic?! Well technically, the term “plastic” refers to materials that can be formed and molded using heat, even if that material is plant based. The term is not solely for defining petroleum based materials. But the general use of the term “plastic” to many consumers brings to mind petroleum based plastics which are NOT compostable. We want to help consumers understand these industry terms so they aren’t left confused and frustrated by industry speak.
Those compostable spoons and forks, as well as our GreenPod hard ring, are made from bio-resins, also known as “bio-plastic” which typically consists of plant based materials and can be broken down using good composting practices. They do take a longer time in a home compost pile than something like paper, but not as long as some other items from nature like avocado skins for example.
Can someone do this for me?
Maybe you’d like to compost your organic waste, but you have no desire or maybe no space, to take on the task alone. What are your options?
We wish it was as easy as finding a trash service pickup or drop off facility in your town, but depending on where you live, that may not be the case. And we encourage you to search for local composting small businesses, like our friends at Compost RVA, that may be operating in your area even if you do not have a registered Industrial Composting Facility nearby. But you can also search this website findacomposter.com for places in your area that accept various materials for composting.
And the more we share about composting, the more compostable products that can make it to market, the more pressure will be placed on big business and government to fund composting initiatives around the country.